From Medical Device Makers Profit from Waste, While GPOs Grow Fat on Kickbacks (07/09/10):

Ever wonder why there’s so much waste in the U.S. healthcare industry? In the medical device sector, at least, it’s all about money: wasted supplies and the inability of small, innovative firms to break into the market mean big bucks for major manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Medtronic (MDX) and Becton Dickinson (BDX).

Take the reprocessing of single-use devices. When the packaging of these devices is opened, many are tossed into the trash even if they were never used or hardly used. Several companies specialize in sterilizing, repacking and reselling these devices for 40 to 60 percent below the original price of the device. There’s ample evidence that the reprocessed devices are safe, and some have won FDA approval. Yet many hospitals and physicians still resist the use of reprocessed devices, buying the device manufacturers’ assertions that they could spread infection.