Charles Rosen of UCI – Association for Medical Ethics leader, perhaps our next Surgeon General?
Posted Jan 11 2009 4:20pm
In southern California he was known as a whistle blower, but when you read the items mentioned, it was something any concerned physician would do; however when he went to the press is when it all caught fire. I live in Orange County and remember portions of this when it occurred. The portion on the missing clinical trial information on one quarter of the participants could have been due to the methods used for collecting data as well, but hopefully now we are on the trail to have all this done electronically. Recently I posted about some clinical trial information still being done on paper. The big item though is the ethics portion of the issue and his stance on being impartial and getting a true picture.
The website he established lists physicians who are accepting money or perks from the manufacturers of the medical devices. With all of this that has been in the press recently and the desire for true transparency, he was perhaps just a bit ahead of his time, as now everyone wants to know. BD
Sure, he had just testified in the U.S. Senate about what he sees as unethical marketing in the medical device industry. Yes, he's a well-respected surgeon and founding director of the Spine Center at the UC Irvine. And he does run a Web site – ethicaldoctor.org – that lists the names of physicians who accept money from the medical device industry.
But just two years ago, Rosen also was nearly fired from his job at UCI. And that came after he'd resigned as chief of surgery at another Orange County hospital, a protest, of sorts, about not being told about the possible use of dirty surgical tools in the operating room. And, in recent years, colleagues at UCI and across the nation have railed against him. Rosen's first clash with the business side of medicine happened in 2000. He was chief of surgery at Garden Grove Hospital when he learned, days before a key inspection, that the hospital's surgical sterilizing machines had been malfunctioning for months.
But the incident that pushed Rosen to become a full-blown industry watchdog came in 2004, when he was researching a new artificial spinal disk called Charite, a product made by Johnson &Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopedics.
Rosen says he found a key clinical trial for the product didn't include data from about a quarter of the participants. He also says he found that some of the doctors who authorized the study doubled as paid consultants for the manufacturer.
So when political people, really important political people, started mentioning Charles Rosen and U.S. Surgeon General in the same sentence, Rosen was … flattered.
Still, in two years, could he go from outcast whistle blower to U.S. Surgeon General? Really?