Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Medicine

FTC goes after GoodRx, the controversy around lifesaving devices, and Verily’s future research

This post originally appeared on StatNews.

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The controversy around vena cava filters

Inferior vena cava filters are supposed to save lives. The spider-like devices catch blood clots before they can travel up to the lung and cause deadly pulmonary embolisms. But they’ve long been dogged by questions about efficacy and the serious complications they can cause for patients. The latest data make clear they’re still causing problems: Researchers examined a Food and Drug Administration database and found that adverse event reports related to the filters rose  from 1,020 in 2016 to 2,842 in 2020 — which experts say is likely an undercount, and could signal either a greater awareness among patients or an uptick in complications.


“There is no doctor that I know that doesn’t want to do the right thing for their patients,” said Sanket Dhruva, a cardiologist at University of California San Francisco and researcher on the report. “But we often have this intervention bias. We want to do something. We want to put in a device.” Read more from me on why doctors continue to rely on this device.

Verily’s future in digitizing clinical trials


Verily’s next big business venture might be digitizing clinical trials. The Alphabet-backed health tech company is collaborating with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals on a small Phase 2 trial of a new antidepressant. The two companies have been working together since 2019, but this latest collaboration signals Verily’s ambitions to provide services like patient interfaces to drug companies.

The partnership comes at a time of change for Verily. In the wake of layoffs and leadership changes, the company is trying to streamline its business. Read more from my colleagues Matt Herper and Casey Ross on what this trial says for Verily’s future.

FTC goes after GoodRx for data sharing

A reckoning has come for GoodRx: The Federal Trade Commission accused the prescription discount drug platform on Wednesday of sharing sensitive health information with big tech companies like GoogleFacebook. and Twilio. GoodRx has agreed to settle, paying a fine of $1.5 million. The GoodRx data-sharing arrangement isn’t a new revelation. In 2020, Consumer Reports wrote about the company sharing data in exchange for targeting customers with medication-specific ads.

It took the FTC three years to take action, and its move marks the first time the agency has pursued a company under the Health Breach Notification Rule first passed in 2009. Brittany Trang has more.

Study: Telehealth helps reduce carbon emissions

Researchers are just beginning to look at the ways digital health may help hospitals cut down on their carbon emissions, as my colleague Katie explored in November. “Digital health is late to the party,” researcher Enrico Coiera told her. More telehealth visits means less carbon used to travel back and forth from health care centers. But the climate benefits of digital health adoption need to be measured against its carbon impact: for example, whether an increase in virtual care demands more complex computing infrastructure.

study out Tuesday in JAMA Network Open looked at the reduction in carbon emissions associated with shifting oncology visits from in-person to digital. Researchers found that telemedicine visits at a cancer care institute saved over 3 million kilograms of carbon emissions from April 2020 to June 2021. “These results highlight the carbon emissions savings that could be gained with the increased use of telemedicine in oncology,” the authors wrote. “This has important implications in reducing health care–related carbon footprint.”

Industry ups and downs

  • Healthcare analytics and data management startup Clearsense scored $50 million in a Series D funding round on Tuesday.
  • Philips is cutting 6,000 more jobs in the face of bleak Q4 results, CEO Roy Jakobs announced during an earnings call on Monday. The medtech company has lost both trust and money in the face of a troubled sleep apnea machine recall.
  • Abbott received FDA approval for its spinal cord stimulation system meant to treat pain from nerve damage caused by diabetes, the company announced last Thursday.

Recall roundup

  • Medtronic recalled over 22,000 hemodialysis catheters due to a defect that may cause leaks in the catheter’s tubes. The leaks could lead to ineffective dialysis or development of blood clots. There have been two reported injuries.
  • LivaNova has recalled 589 LifeSPARC systems, machines that help pump blood from outside a patient’s body, to fix a bug that causes the device to stop working. There have been two reported injuries due to this defect.
  • Getinge has recalled over 4,400 intra-aortic heart pumps due to reports of blood entering the pump, causing organ damage and blood loss. There have been four serious injuries and one death.
  • Emergent has recalled 3,500 skin decontamination sponges due to the packets leaking. The kits are used by the military to remove toxic chemicals from the skin.

This post originally appeared on StatNews.