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When implanted medical devices go wrong, who pays?

Reuters, October 9, 2012

Insurance companies, often stuck with the tab for health services when a medical device fails, are ready to share the pain. As the number of costly, high-profile recalls rises, along with pressure to cut their own spending, insurers are starting to pin more of the responsibility on manufacturers. If they succeed, medical device makers—already worried about weaker global demand for many of their products and the impact of a new U.S. tax on their profits—will have even more costs in the wake of product recalls, the biggest of which can already lead to billions of dollars in expenses. "The (insurance) plans are being more aggressive. The reason it gets so much more focus now is because there are so many cases," said Mark Fischer, chairman of Rawlings & Associates, a unit of the Rawlings Group that helps insurance companies with subrogation.