Medical Device Reps Increasing Surgery Costs

Medical Devices

Guy Towart, who used to be a marketing manager for multiple medical device firms and spent a quarter of a century in the field, claims that salespeople would enter operating rooms under the guise of ‘support’ in order to promote devices. As a result of the upselling, the surgery's expenses increased.

"When I was working as marketing manager for two different companies, I ran an internal marketing campaign to train the reps.”

“salespeople would enter operating rooms under the guise of ‘support’ in order to promote the sale of their devices“

"If the surgeon happens to need a bone graft substitute, we want to upgrade them and sell them our expensive bone graft substitute on top of the expensive medical device.” Adding “$2,000 on top of the $10,000 for the hip replacement."

Private medical insurance companies claim that this extra expense forces then to increase the amount individuals have to shell out for policies.

However, a member of the MTAA (Medical Technology Association of Australia), Ian Burgess, insisted that “the technicians in-theatre are purely providing technical support."

Towart explained how reps were "given incentives that would range from a cash prize through to holidays and high-end electronic equipment", with bonuses of "more than $150,000".

Although Professor Mark Frydenberg, president of The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), expressed that this is not something they think of as common practice, describing these situations as "the exception rather than the rule – certainly in my experience it is not the norm."

The Public Health Agency says is obvious that these strategies have aided in driving up hospital expenses.

For "back pain surgery” during “the pandemic, the cost to health funds increased by $1,330."

"The only possible explanation is that the sales of those items have been pushed into that procedure over that period of time."

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