Olympus sought higher prices for their scopes after equipment linked to superbug outbreaks

Endoscope manufacturer Olympus raised prices on replacements for scopes linked to deadly infections, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Last year, after physicians at the University of California in Los Angeles Ronald Reagan Medical Center linked deadly infections to contaminated medical scopes made by Olympus, they asked the company to lend them replacements.

The company countered the request by offering to sell the hospital 35 scopes for $1.2 million — a 28 percent price markup from what it charged the institution just months prior. According to the LA Times, Olympus sales manager Vincent Hernandez wrote in an email, "Supplies are already low, where demand is high with all academic institutions expanding their inventories."

According to the LA Times, the new cleaning procedures implemented by many medical centers left them in need of scopes. Scope sales for Olympus increased considerably during this nine-month period that ended on Dec. 31. For that period, the company's profits increased by 34 percent. The company made $352 million. Company executives boasted about the record-breaking performance.

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of Torrance, Calif., according the LA Times, said in a recent interview, "What Olympus did was outrageous...they jacked up the prices and made even more money off their defective scopes and then bragged about it. Have they no shame?"

Three UCLA Medical Center patients died and five more were sickened from October 2014 to January 2015 by drug-resistant bacteria trapped inside the Olympus duodenoscopes. News would later break that duodenoscopes were linked to 250 infections worldwide in a three-year span. Olympus is the largest duodenoscope manufacturer in the U.S. and worldwide.

After pressure from the Food and Drug Administration, the company issued a recall on the duodenoscopes in January. Federal prosecutors are investigating device manufacturers Olympus, Pentax and Fujifilm for their potential role in the superbug outbreaks.

More articles on infection control: 
Antibody treatment 100% effective in HIV elimination in monkeys, study finds 
20-year decline in TB incidence in US has stalled: 5 things to know 
Infographic: Where in the US have Zika cases been reported? [March 25 update]

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


IC Database-3

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months