Medtech trade group AdvaMed this week debuted a website that tracks law firm TV advertisements aimed at patients who have had certain medical devices implanted.
The “Responsible Advertising for Patient Safety” site says that such ads mislead patients into legal action against the manufacturers of devices that are “non-faulty” and may jeopardize patient safety.
“We are advocates protecting patients from risks associated with deceptive, third-party funded advertisements,” the site says. “We support the doctor-patient relationship and seeking proper medical, not legal, advice for any medical device and health-related concerns.”
The site also tracks medical device mass tort TV ad trends, including ads aimed at patients who have had implants of birth control devices, fabric mesh, inferior vena cava (IVC) filters and artificial hips as well as at users of military earplugs. For example, major medical device companies have settled lawsuits over pelvic mesh or hernia mesh for millions of dollars or been ordered to pay patients who claimed they’d been injured by the devices. Just this week, Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) agreed to pay $60 million to 48 U.S. states to resolve allegations that its C.R. Bard business deceptively marketed transvaginal surgical mesh devices. In March, Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) agreed to settle a transvaginal mesh class action lawsuit brought by women in Canada for $21.5 million.
Mass tort ads as well as spending on them have declined precipitously since the third quarter of 2019, possibly due to the pandemic, according to the trade group. AdvaMed estimates that the legal industry spent more than $8.8 million on 31,702 such ads in Q3 2019, compared with $4.4 million spent on 21,929 ads in the second quarter of 2020.
“Lifesaving medical technology has become an increasing target of misleading litigation ads,” said AdvaMed COO and general counsel Christopher White in a news release. “We agree with the Federal Trade Commission that healthcare decisions should be based on truthful, science-based information, in consultation with physicians, and not fear-inducing, misleading advertisements. Our new website aims to ensure just that.”