When you’ve screwed up big…like when you’ve created a product that has hurt or even killed people…you’ve got two options.
You can man up, take responsibility, and work like crazy to make it right.
Or you can seize the moment as a chance to grab as much cash as you can and make a run for it before the long arm of the law catches up with you.
I wish I were writing to you about the former scenario, which would be a rare glimpse of compassion and decency in an increasingly cold world.
Instead, I’ve got a tale about one of the Seven Deadly Sins come to life — a company that allegedly used a crisis of its own making to shake down its customers and rake in more cash… all while patients were DYING!
Newly revealed emails show UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center practically begging Olympus for new medical scopes after the devices used at the hospital were traced to a deadly bacterial outbreak.
Olympus had UCLA over a barrel and let them know it, claiming a previous “discount” no longer applied.
“Supplies are already low, where demand is high with all academic institutions expanding their inventories,” the company told UCLA, then hit them with the news: If the hospital wants new scopes, they’ll have to pay 28 percent more for them, which meant the total price would be jacked up by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In another email, the company even had the nerve to get all ticked off at the hospital for failing to buy enough of the disease-causing ‘scopes!
Well, turns out there was a reason supplies were low, and Olympus had to have known it by then: The problem that led to the outbreak wasn’t a shoddy cleaning job on the scopes.
It was the scopes themselves!
They were so poorly designed that the feds eventually warned that they were practically impossible to clean — which is a little like designing a car and forgetting the brakes.
The scopes could pick up germs from one patient and pass them onto the next like the world’s worst case of cooties — and it could happen even if the hospital followed the cleaning instructions to a “T.”
Eventually, the scopes were pulled from a market for a “redesign.”
But before that happened… before Olympus became one of several companies thrust into the center of the biggest medical device scandals in years… it looks like they tried to milk every last penny out of desperate medical facilities.
That’s not just wrong…if you ask me, it should be a crime.
Olympus and two other scope makers are now being investigated by federal prosecutors — and if they bring charges, I’ve got the perfect punishment: Line up the sales team and the company execs and give them all exams with their own dirty scopes!
If you have to get scoped yourself and have the time to shop around, look for a hospital that uses either EtO sterilization or hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, which are the two most effective cleaning techniques around.