In 2012, national news outlets broke a story about a malicious scam concerning counterfeit, implant hardware being used for spinal fusion surgeries in California hospitals. Pacific Hospital and Tri-City Hospital, both in the Long Beach area, were at the center of the allegations.
As of October 2014, lawsuits have reportedly been filed by over 30 former patients. Attorneys say thousands more patients may have been affected.
The allegations include an elaborate scheme involving bribes to doctors in exchange for referrals to these hospitals, and the manufacturing and use of non-FDA approved, counterfeit implant screws in the subsequent surgeries. Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital, is accused of personal involvement in the scheme.
The lawsuits maintain that the hospitals charged full price for the counterfeit screws, which were made at a fraction of the cost of FDA-approved hardware. The use of the allegedly inferior materials may have put the well-being of thousands of patients, in these southern California hospitals and elsewhere, at risk.
According to the state discharge data, there were 550 spinal fusions at Pacific and Tri-City alone in the last decade.
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Wall Street Journal article:
Outpatient Surgery article: