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Hollywood, meet med-tech

  • Blog Post by:
  • October 13, 2011 - 7:09 PM

Med-techers, who would have thought your field has gone Hollywood?

Well, check out the movie Puncture, at the Lagoon theater in Uptown this weekend.

The film explores Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs), which buy medical devices in bulk for hospitals. On the surface, the subject matter isn’t exactly cinematic catnip.

The movie is described by its promoters as a legal/medical thriller starring a very-buff Chris Evans, most recently of Capt. America fame. It tells the real-life story of a nurse who died of AIDS after being inadvertently pricked by a contaminated needle. The inventor of a new prick-less syringe bumps up against GPOs when he tries to market his invention to hospitals. Two crusading Texas lawyers (one of them a seemingly dynamic drug addict) take up his case in a drama that is supposedly reminiscent of the little-guy-triumphs-all genre. Sort of like a medical Erin Brockovich, without the push-up bra. (Although your humble blogger admittedly hasn’t seen Puncture, the heady subject matter will compel her to rush to the Lagoon’s popcorn stand this very Friday night.)

The Health Industry Group Purchasing Association, the Washington, D.C., group that represents GPOs, says Puncture “is not an accurate account of the facts.” GPOs help most of America’s hospitals “evaluate new, innovative products, and introduce them to the market at a competitive price. . . It is unthinkable and irresponsible to suggest that hospitals would allow anything to get in the way of providing quality care to their patients using the best, most effective products available.

Hmm. Puncture hasn’t exactly wowed all the critics. The New York Times said it is “undeniably entertaining but stubbornly emotionless.”

Just the mere fact that GPOs would prompt a movie is amazing to this blogger. Then again, med-tech is apparently permeating our popular culture.

A recent episode of The Good Wife on television featured a patient who was damaged by a spine neurostimulator gone awry. Apparently, the product was used off-label, that is, not in a way approved by the FDA. (A hat's off to my male source who didn't want anyone to know that he watches The Good Wife.)

We could make all sorts of associations with that subject matter, but we’ll let your imaginations run wild.

Janet Moore covers medical technology for the Star Tribune.

 

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