Newly released documents demonstrate turmoil inside Guidant Corporation while its heart devices came under scrutiny last year. The records include e-mail messages, transcripts, memos and notes. While Guidant’s public message was upbeat and positive, the company’s executives and sales representatives were alarmed about the scrutiny of defects in its defibrillators and pacemakers, and the company repeatedly changed course in the way it was handling disclosure of the defects. Initially the company stated that news of safety problems with its devices was overblown, and Guidant had decided not to offer free replacement devices. However, it later realized that it was losing the trust of customers. What was most upsetting to many doctors was that Guidant sold potentially flawed devices, even after the company knew of the defects, rather than pull those devices from the market so that they could not be implanted. Defects in Guidant defibrillators have been connected to the deaths of at least seven people. Guidant was recently purchased by Boston Scientific for $27 billion. In addition to facing lawsuits over its defective heart devices, Guidant is being investigated by the F.D.A. and the Justice Department. Sheller, Ludwig and Badey is currently investigating claims against Guidant Corporation related to recalled heart devices.
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