WALL STREET has basically blown off reports of a defect in a defibrillator made by Guidant. The company’s stock has fallen only slightly since Tuesday, when the New York Times ran a front page story detailing problems with the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861. The story was prompted by the death of Joshua Oukrop, a 21-year old from Minnesota. So far the death is the only one linked to the defibrillator. Twenty-five other incidents of non-lethal malfunctions have been reported.
Did the Times go a little too far in giving the story such prominent play under the circumstances? Were editors at the paper possibly just a little bit overeager in their zeal to nail a major device manufacturer and embarrass the FDA? A lot of doctors and other healthcare people I know are still angry about the way the Times and other media outlets handled the drug safety story. I’m not sure that I know the answer to this one, but its certainly a question worth thinking about.