Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Carnival in RIO

It couldn't have been more appropriate, only the timing was off.  Canival is a festive occasion held 46 days before Easter in Brazil, but let's have a Carnival of our own fellow spineophiles so follow the bouncing ball........ where's Kelly Key when we're ready to party?

When my baby, when my baby smiles at me I go to Rio De Janeiro, my-oh-me-oh
Biomet goes wild and does the Samba and La Bamba
Now I'm not that kind of company with a passionate persuasion for dancing'
Or romancin' but I give in to the rhythm and my feet follow the beatin'

No fellow bloggers, its not the late, late, late Peter Allen, its Jeff Binder having to do the Samba and La Bamba (now there's a vision) in response to yesterday's report in the Wall Street Journal regarding Biomet agreeing to pay more than $22 million in penalties to settle allegations (if they are allegations why are they paying) that it bribed surgeons in Brazil (No way Jose) and China (Kopy Kats) over a period of years.

It seems like the governments on-going investigation into violations related to the Foreign Corruptions Act is resulting in a windfall.  But let's get serious, if anyone has attempted to do business in Brazil, corruption runs rampant.  TSB knows that some Brazilian will take umbrage with TSB accusations, but if you haven't made an attempt to sell in the largest market in South America, you haven't tasted Salsa until you go to Rio.  The Chinese are no different.  As U.S. companies, surgeons, and businessmen kiss the ass of the Chinese, "it's a whole new market, etc., etc.," the Chinese are strategically planning our demise.  But back to the story.......

The Federal Corruptions Act of 1977 prohibits improper payments to foreign officials in exchange for business.  It's cut and dry.  The Art of the Spine Deal has been made famous by companies like Orthofix J&J, SNN, and now Biomet, but we all know that this has been going on for years. Orthofix for those that may need a memory jolt recently settled with the U.S. DOJ as reported in their press release dated February 6, 2012, so cool your jets down in Lewisville.

But here's a question for our readers, why does the U.S. Government continue to pander to corporations that violate and break laws without throwing anyone into jail?  If companies are people, then someone is obviously responsible for these actions, and should be held accountable.  You have to love legal "pretzel logic," the government finds wrongdoing, but the company doesn't admit any wrong doing. LMAOL.  To quote Jeff Binder, "Over the past several years,  we have significantly enhanced our global compliance procedures and financial controls......" Yeah sure, been there, done that.

In April 2011, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $70 million for bribes to Greek doctors (love them Greeks, not only don't they pay taxes, they love taking handouts, suckers), last month Smith & Nephew agreed to pay $22 million for improper inducements to Greek healthcare providers, who knows if the Greeks are smart they could potentially pay down their debt by using the medical device companies.  Stryker and have also disclosed FCPA investigations.

So as the hits keep coming...... TSB is on his way to Rio where the beaches are hot, hot, hot


  1. You spelled Carnival incorrectly.

  2. *Yawn*...corruption in the OUS markets. What else is new?

    Nice to see Lukianov inviting Romney to campaign at his company. Romney should pick Alex for his VP. I'd love to see Biden try to debate the Bear.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. A company and the CEO make the effort to repeal a health care plan that will arguably decrease patient care, decrease reimbursement for services and tax our companies sales to pay for it and that is your comment? You should apologize to your Surgeons, his patients and who cuts your checks! You sir, are a tool of the highest order.

      Every CEO and medical device company should be as pro-active as Alex and NuVasive is. It's so easy to sit back and reap the rewards this industry provides and even easier to sit back and say nothing.

  4. San Diego, Calif. (CNN) – As the Supreme Court met to hear arguments over the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law, GOP candidate Mitt Romney assailed the president's signature initiative as a federal power grab and a drag on economic growth.

    "What's happening today in Washington is an attack on free enterprise, an attack on economic freedom unlike anything we have ever seen before," Romney told an audience at NuVasive, a medical device company that designs artificial spine replacements.

    – Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

    – Follow Rachel Streitfeld on Twitter: @streitfeldcnn

    Romney did not mention the issue on the Supreme Court's docket and did not repeat his usual call for the repeal of Obama's health care law, though he stood beneath a banner that called for repeal.

    Instead the former Massachusetts governor claimed the president was "burdening" the health care industry with a raft of new federal regulators and bureaucracy. He said a new tax on medical device companies could force NuVasive to eliminate 200 jobs.

    "I just don't think the president and his people understand that as they burden enterprise with taxation and with regulation, they hurt all of us," Romney said.

    The CEO of the medical device company spoke darkly about the effect on the law on medical innovation.

    "We need to do everything we can to push back on these issues, to push back on Obamacare, to repeal it," said Alexis V. Lukianov.

    Romney has previously defended the health care plan he passed in Massachusetts – which served as a model for the Obama plan – by saying the law should not have been mandated on a federal level.

  5. While corruption anywhere needs curtailing; why doesn’t our government enforce the laws relating to our own backyard? Could perception be blinded by political expediency? Malfeasance?

    Our government’s war on illicit drugs cannot be won. Why don’t they attack the root cause, consumer demand? Consumer demand could be greatly curtailed if a campaign were initiated to better educate drug users of the obvious dangers associated with ingesting unregulated products produced by our nation’s greatest enemies.

    The bureaucrat mentality dictates self survival. If a program is effective, funding will cease or be greatly reduced and hence the possibility of departmental disruption.

    The same mentality drives the inaction to curb corruption within the medical device industry.
    All of us have been faced with the question “what’s in it for me”? All of us have lost hard earned business to phony “consultant fees”, PODs, etc. Our government knows very well these methods of illegal commerce, yet does nothing to reach the heart of the problem. The government is quick to place blame on industry, after all this falls under the politically expedient column. It does not take great genius to determine the root problem; cut off demand for corruption and quid pro quo will disappear.

    We are now on the threshold of the free markets answer to this assault on fair business practices. The surgeon community will not be happy when their shadowed, illicit revenue streams disappear. It is hard to feel sorry for the cause when the effect is so obviously demanded.

  6. Alex should focus his efforts or restoring investor & shareholder confidence in a company that seems to be lacking some direction instead of continuously driving his political agenda.

    I wonder if part of the interview process at Nuvasive involves stating which political party your own views are aligned with these days?

    Very disturbing to see a CEO continue to get away with this type of behavior when the company he is being paid to run continues to gasp for air.

    1. Here's a prime example of a person that will find something negative to say about NuVasive, regardless of the topic.

      NuVa's stock jumped by more than a buck as soon as Mitt Romney's visit was announced, and it has maintained these gains in the days since. I have a feeling that Alex will "continue to get away with this type of behavior" for a very long time if the results continue to be as positive as they were in this particular instance.

      Cue nonsensical rebuttal from 2:47pm riiiiight...now. ;)

  7. Laughing @ 3:12pm

    "NuVa's stock jumped by more than a buck",, Are you kidding? This stock is down nearly 70% over the last 18 months and barely sitting above the level where it IPO'd in 2005.

    You think that bringing in Mitt Romney was a strong move? You're an idiot.

    1. 3:32pm, please tell me how bringing Mitt Romney in to speak and causing a very clear jump in the stock price is a bad idea. You're the idiot. It doesn't even matter if you're a republican or a democrat. Anything that your company does to put it in the national news cycle is going to be good for your stock price. Again, I reemphasize, you are the idiot.

    2. Not "anything"! I don't think the Biomet national news story worked too well for them yesterday!.

    3. Yeah - they went from last place to... last place.

    4. Medtronic Stock was up over a buck on the same day as well!!! Thanks NUVA!!!!

    5. Stock price increase is secondary to the primary goal of repealing the Health Care Reform Law. Say what you will about NuVasive and/or Alex, but they are the most vocal advocates in the marketplace for Surgeons, Patients and Politics. Who in the marketplace is advocating on behalf of reimbursement on XLIF besides NuVasive? All the Surgeons, Companies and Sales Representatives enjoy the benefits of these types of activities from NuVasive, but when it comes to giving credit for it and showing some respect for the incredible efforts that it takes they are no where to be found. Please enlighten me to what DePuy, Globus, Lanx, Biomet, Styker, Zimmer are doing to help this industry sustain its livelihood? If a company is stepping up we should at the very least give a nod in the general direction, be that Medtronic, NuVasive or the rest.

  8. @7:11am,, REALLY??

    You actually wrote this: "Say what you will about NuVasive and/or Alex, but they are the most vocal advocates in the marketplace for Surgeons, Patients and Politics. Who in the marketplace is advocating on behalf of reimbursement on XLIF besides NuVasive?"

    Why would anyone else care about the reimbursement on XLIF OTHER THAN Nuvasive? Nuvasive is fighting for its life, no one else cares. XLIF is not a miralce procedure you fool. Patients have died & been injured when lateral surgery has gone bad. Talk about ignorance,,

    Laughing,, this board does not cease to amaze me w/ its ridiculousness & purely idiotic rhetroic.

    1. @12:20 Being that every other company is producing a lateral procedure i.e. Medtronic/DePuy/Globus/Lanx/Synthes, I would think EVERYONE that works for those companies would care! Also, patients have been injured with TLIF/PLIF/ACDF/PSF and have had many cases of death with PCF/ALIF etc. that's not an argument. I am not sure where you are pulling the "miracle procedure" from, but that is your ignorance imagining words from a different paragraph perhaps. One more person who has no clue, just likes to spout negative garbage every chance they get.

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