Bioethics News

Why Medical Devices Aren’t Safer

April 19, 2016

(New York Times) – According to a report from the Brookings Institution, medical device problems that we know about contribute to about 3,000 deaths per year in the United States. There may be many more we do not know about because we do not track medical device use the way we track prescription drugs for quality and safety. Codes that uniquely identify prescribed drugs are routinely included in medical claims data — such as those made public by the Medicare program. These can be mined for signals of problems. Instead, for medical devices, we rely on a passive system that’s not up to the task. Hospitals, nursing homes and medical device manufacturers and importers are required to notify the Food and Drug Administration of device safety problems. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are not.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.