Pain pump manufacturer no stranger to controversy
One of the three principal shoulder pain pump manufacturers facing lawsuits over serious injuries associated with the use of the pain pumps is no stranger to controversy. It was also engaged in an illegal scheme for which it was prosecuted for paying hundreds of thousands – and possibly millions – of dollars to physicians for using its hip and knee replacement products exclusively.
Stryker Corporation, a multinational, publicly traded corporation, sells McKinley Medical pain products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Pain pumps are devices that deliver pain medication directly into the surgery site for up to 72 hours. The pumps were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with the catheters inserted into the shoulder tissue; however, pain pump manufacturers, like Stryker, began advising doctors to place the catheters directly into the shoulder joint, which was not approved by the FDA.
When the pain medication dripped directly into the shoulder joint – where it was not FDA-approved to do – the medication ate away at the shoulder cartilage, resulting in a painful and debilitating condition known as chondrolysis. Soon physicians began making the connection between this use of pain pumps and chondrolysis. As a result, Stryker and other pain pump manufacturers are now facing hundreds of lawsuits from individuals injured by the devices.
During the same time that pain pump manufacturers were telling doctors to place the catheters of the devices into the joint space, it also began paying orthopedic surgeons for using the Stryker hip and knee replacement products, which is illegal. Questions still remain about whether doctors were also paid by Stryker to encourage other doctors to use Stryker products.