US firm pleads guilty in bone-cement trial

2010-12-01 06:47

Philadelphia – A medical device company has pleaded guilty to criminal behaviour for conducting unauthorised tests of its bone cement on spinal surgery patients.

Synthes and its Norian subsidiary tested the cement between 2002 and 2004 on 200 patients, three of whom died on the operating table.

Prosecutors say the companies sought profits over patient safety.

Four Synthes executives could get jail time after pleading guilty or no contest to a federal misdemeanour.

Norian pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to impede federal safety standards, a felony, and 110 related misdemeanours.

Synthes pleaded guilty to the same misdemeanour, shipping a mislabelled product.

The companies will pay $23 million (R163 million) in fines.

A lawyer for Synthes declined to comment.

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