Flawed approval process led to flawed jaw implants

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reporter John Fauber proves that it’s possible to do cutting-edge reporting on conflicts of interest and tie those conflicts to clinical trials of devices that hit the market a few decades ago.

His targets? Jaw joint devices that were initially grandfathered in, and for which newer treatments were approved in the late ’90s and early 2000’s. These trials, Fauber found, were too small, too conflicted and too inconclusive to provide real data, yet the devices were approved anyway. Now, he has found, patients are paying the price.

I’ll just include the first sentence here, as I’m confident that nobody will be able to resist reading the rest of Fauber’s story.

Before implanting a third artificial jaw joint in Heidi Clark’s head, doctors had to remove particles of plastic from the second failed joint that had broken apart and become embedded in muscle.

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