The Implant Files

2019, Health  -   3 Comments
7.62
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Ratings: 7.62/10 from 21 users.

The Implant Files examines the crossroads at which innovation and unregulated greed intersect, and the damage that can occur as a result.

Few fields have harbored more forward-thinking innovation than the medical industry. Of particular consequence has been the introduction of state-of-the-art medical devices. From cardiac stents to hip replacement parts, these devices have been responsible for prolonging and enhancing a quality of life for millions of patients.

But there's a darker side to these success stories. In the rush to deliver these new innovations to market, they are often poorly tested and woefully unregulated. As a result, device defects can occur, inflicting great physical discomfort and psychological distress to patients who have essentially been used as guinea pigs.

The most involving moments of the film come from a series of interviews with wronged patients. One man undergoes an intensive operation to remove fragments of a deteriorated spinal disc he received. An older mother suffers from seizures after using a defective insulin pump. A machinist files a lawsuit against the manufacturer after the metal in his artificial hip replacement falters and poisons him.

We hear additional stories of ruptured breast implants, potentially deadly uterine mesh mishaps, and malfunctioning heart devices. Patients are often forced to live in extreme discomfort and incapacitation. In spite of their pleas and legal overtures, medical device companies are rarely penalized for their negligence.

The film breaks down the process by which these devices are produced and given fast approval to enter the marketplace. The current system overlooks critical steps in accountability and testing. The deep pocketbooks of medical device companies allow them to mask their misdeeds through high-priced attorneys and flashy advertising. Disgruntled patients often have little recourse when their lives are placed at risk. Paper trails documenting the life of a device from conception to distribution are sketchy at best, but incidents of defects and deterioration are occurring with increasing regularity.

Produced as an installment of the invaluable DW Documentary series, The Implant Files urges for more oversight in the medical device industry, and a return to healthcare’s most basic oath of "first do no harm".

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3 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Konrad

    This report only talks about the negatif results and does not mention anything positif.
    They should have included at least some positif results. VERY biased!! A docu on all the positive transplants or implants would be very interesting.
    a

    1. Daniel Friesen

      Pacemakers are one thing, but too many things are pushed into the marketplace with
      no regard for safety, efficacy or side effects; think breast implants for one. So Konrad,
      if you were castrated, would you fill the void with silicone balls? Think on that, komrad

  2. Charles Rock (economist)

    Excellent investigative journalism exposé. The conflict of interest element (medical device producers pay for the testing certification process) appears to be almost completely designed to increase corruption in the medical devices safety "testing" process. This EU scandalous arrangement is very reminiscent of similar economic conflict of interest that helped create giant financial collapse in the US financial markets in 2008---where sellers (esp. the largest of the unregulated financial firms) of the soon to explode "Collaterized Debt Obligations" (bonds backed by bad assets) paid the three main bond rating companies (with an artificial oligopoly....similar to the somewhat larger market oligopoly of EU 'independent' cretifiers of the "CE" designation of the EU) to provide the ratings of the bonds (i.e. levels which determine if a pension or retirement fund can buy them). The two sides of both--- the medical devices market in EU, AND the US bond market sellers market worldwide---seem similarly corrupted by their non-independent partners which are verifying the "quality" of their products. I hope this documentary is seen widely. Perhaps then, the lawmakers in the EU and elsewhere will think of designing new regulatory systems that avoid these such clearcut cases of conflicts of interest. Then the public interest--patients interests--will become paramount in testing and certifications as "safe" will accord with the interests of us all, since nearly everyone will become patients as we get older. Thanks.