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Medical Device Manufacturer Guidant Pleads Guilty, MUST PAY $296 MILLION

WASHINGTON – Guidant LLC pleaded guilty today in St. Paul, Minn., before U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank to criminal violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Justice Department announced. The medical device manufacturer’s admission of criminal wrongdoing is the result of a four-year investigation into Guidant’s handling of short-circuiting failures of three models of its implantable cardioverter defibrillators: the Ventak Prizm 2 DR (Model 1861) and the Contak Renewal (Models H135 and H155). Guidant’s Cardiac Rhythm Management division, which produced the defibrillators, is headquartered in Arden Hills, Minnesota.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators are lifesaving devices used to detect and treat abnormal heart rhythms that can result in sudden cardiac death, one of the leading causes of mortality in the United States. The devices, once surgically implanted, constantly monitor the electrical activity in a patient’s heart for deadly electrical rhythms and deliver an electrical shock to the heart in an effort to return the heartbeat to normal. If they fail to operate properly when needed, a person can die within minutes.

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