Three pain pump manufacturers at crux of controversy

Pain pumps are devices designed to deliver medication directly into the surgical site to manage pan after surgery. While effective for pain management, physicians began seeing more and more patients suffering from a debilitating condition known as chondrolysis following use of shoulder pain pumps. This concern was validated in a recent study by The American Journal of Sports Medicine, which identified a specific type of chondrolysis, Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL), associated with the use of shoulder pain pumps. As a result, hundreds of people harmed by the devices have filed suit against the manufacturers of pain pumps.

PAGCL is a painful and debilitating condition that occurs when the cartilage in the shoulder joint wears away, causing the bones to rub together. There is no cure for PAGCL. Some patients my require shoulder replacement surgery.

There are three medical device manufacturers at the crux of the shoulder pain pump controversy – Stryker Corporation, I-Flow Corporation, and DJO Incorporated. Stryker is a multinational, publicly traded corporation that sells the McKinley Medical LLP pain pump products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In 2006, the company reported net sales of almost $5.5 billion.

I-Flow’s family of products focuses on Regional Anesthesia, Intravenous (IV) Infusion Therapy, and Oncology Infusion Services. It’s acute pain management product line includes the ON-Q PainBuster Post-Op Pain Relief Sustem, The Soaker Catheter, and the C-bloc Continuous Nerve Block System. I-Flow has exclusive rights in the U.S. to distribute the On-Q PainBuster. In 2007, company recorded assets exceeding $81 million.

DJO is a global provider of solutions for musculosketal and vascular health that specializes in rehabilitation and regeneration products for the non-operative orthopedic, spine and vascular markets. The company manufactures and/or distributes the DonJoy Pain Control Device. In 2007, the company reported net assets of more than $173 million.

Allegations against the manufacturers include negligence, strict liability, warranty, and failure to warn physicians and patients of the risk of chondrolysis with use of the shoulder pain pumps. Those who have been injured by shoulder pain pumps are advised to seek legal counsel, as they may have a case against the manufacturer.