Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Faulty Medical Devices: Who Should Pay?
    Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
    Last month France was in the news due to breast implants gone bad. The company that manufactured the implants had gone out of business, so the French government was going to pay for all of the women who got the implants to have them removed/replaced .

    It made me start thinking about the subject of faulty medical devices. If something goes wrong and the company is still in business, folks here in the U.S. can usually sue if they aren't compensated by the company. But, what if the company has gone out of business? Who should pay the cost?

    Insurance company? Individual? Government?

    Should the leaders of the defunct company be held responsible in some way?

    Share your opinion!
    BalconyBelle responded:
    The difference here is the French government supplies health care to all its citizens (it is in effect the insurance provider), the US does not. Once the company that manufactured faulty devices went belly-up, it is actually cheaper in the long run for the French government to pony up the cash to remove the devices before additional problems manifest. It's a form of preventative care.

    With the current set-up in the US, if a company that makes faulty devices goes under, it's the insurance providers responsibility to get the devices removed (and if necessary, to have a suitable replacement put in) in order to preserve their paying customer's health and quality of life. If a person is not insured, that responsibility falls on them (and any attorney/laywer they wish to hire to gain compensation or care on their behalf). The only case where the US government could be held liable/responsible is if the manufacturing company and/or it's faulty product was somehow subsidized/endorsed by the government, or the person with the faulty device is a government employee...and as long as the US government is not the insurance provider for US citizens, it's a setup that makes sense IMO.

    Leaders of defunct companies are already held liable by the media (judged in the court of public opinion); but if it can be proved that they knowingly released a faulty/inferior product that would endanger consumer health, they deserve to be brought up on criminal charges as well.
    bobby75703 responded:
    Who should pay? Mitt Romney.
    fcl replied to BalconyBelle's response:
    "It's a form of preventative care. "

    You've got it in one, BalconyBelle (I live in France). Basically, if's an economic decision.

    PS - Health care is supplied to all residents, not only to citizens.
    charlieharry replied to bobby75703's response:
    Not the government!!!!
    charlieharry replied to BalconyBelle's response:
    The government should not pay. People should be very careful when they decide to have this kind of surgery. They must check out everything about it and take responsibility for their own decisions.
    jpinmiss responded:
    The customer needs tyo "BEWARE".
    The whole medical community should be on the hook !!!!!!!
    The supplier, the doctors, hospital, and all others in the selling end.
    The patient does not have all of the obligation of being totally responsibe.The patient is swayed by the medical comunity, and sometimes this can be a daunting task.
    fcl replied to charlieharry's response:
    That's not the point. The point is that these implants occasionally ruptured and became a cancer risk. It is cheaper in the long run to pay for them to be removed than to pay for long, painful cancer treatment.
    JenPBDBP2 replied to charlieharry's response:
    @charlieharry who said, "The government should not pay. People should be very careful when they decide to have this kind of surgery. They must check out everything about it and take responsibility for their own decisions."

    Do you include women who are getting reconstructive surgery after mastectomy?

    WebMD Talk Show

    Feel like a friendly debate? Take the gloves off and defend your viewpoint.

    Learn More

    Expert Blog

    Diagnosis: Reality Check

    Putting perspective on health news and names in the spotlight.Read More