DePuy Payments: The Disturbing Truth About Dr. Thomas Schmalzried and Dr. Thomas Vail
November 24, 2010
In the wake of a massive recall of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implants, many people have begun to ask questions about their surgeons and what made them choose the DePuy ASR system in the first place. What they are learning is quite disturbing.
People are now discovering that the doctor who recommended that the ASR system be implanted in their bodies may actually have been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the side from the hip's manufacturer, DePuy. These payments and the obvious conflict of interest they present were never disclosed to the patients.
Recent reports have revealed that Dr. Thomas Schmalzried and Dr. Thomas Vail were actually the co-inventors of the ASR system and receive royalty payments each time one of these hips is sold. DePuy reports that from 2009 through 2010, these doctors received combined payments of more than $3.9 million from DePuy. It is alleged that in return for these payments, Drs. Schmalzried and Vail extensively promoted the ASR XL system and attempted to publicly downplay problems with the product once they arose. It is believed that these two doctors implanted these hips into hundreds of patients without ever disclosing that they were actually receiving a piece of the action.
What is important to note is that DePuy's decision to disclose its payments to doctors only began in 2009. Therefore, it is unknown how much these doctors received prior to this date. However, what is known is that DePuy has a history of paying doctors in order to induce them to use its products. In 2007, DePuy was among four orthopedic companies charged by the Federal Government under anti-kickback statutes for paying doctors huge sums of money as an inducement to use their products. DePuy settled their charges for $84.7 million.
According to Reuters, "This was a common practice from at least 2002 through 2006, with surgeons paid tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for consulting contracts, including trips and other perks."
See the following DePuy documents disclosing doctor payments:
If you had your hip replaced by Dr. Thomas Schmalzried or Dr. Thomas Vail and received one of the recalled DePuy ASR systems, you may have a claim against them and the hip's manufacturer, DePuy Orthopedics. For a free and confidential case evaluation, fill out the contact form on this page, or call one of our medical device recall attorneys at 888-285-3333.
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