Friday, March 25, 2016

THE DARK SIDE OF CAPITALISM

Soon after doctors at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center traced deadly infections to tainted medical scopes last year, they pressed the device maker to lend them replacements.

But Olympus Corp. refused. Instead, the Tokyo company offered to sell UCLA 35 new scopes for $1.2 million — a 28% increase in price from what it charged the university just months earlier, according to university emails obtained from a public-records request.

Olympus sales manager Vincent Hernandez told UCLA that the company's previous discounts no longer applied. "Supplies are already low, where demand is high with all academic institutions expanding their inventories," Hernandez wrote to the medical center.

The emails show how Olympus continued to push sales even as the devices it previously sold to UCLA and other medical institutions were linked to illnesses and deaths.

The messages also mark a sharp departure from what had been a close, mutually beneficial relationship between the giant device manufacturer and one of the country's most prestigious academic medical centers.