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Medtronic Isn't the First Victim of Stolen Medical Devices

Trivia Tuesday: What company had a shipment of medical devices stolen in April 2011?

Amanda Pedersen

October 9, 2023

1 Min Read
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Image credit: shotbydave / iStock via Getty Images

Medtronic recently alerted customers to beware of stolen medical devices that are being advertised for sale online. The products, according to the company, were designated for destruction after failing quality tests. But before the devices could be destroyed, they were stolen.

Medical device theft isn't as common as pharmaceutical theft, but it does happen.

In April 2011, Boston Scientific had a shipment of medical devices stolen while en route to a sterilization facility. The stolen medical devices, which included endoscopy, urology, and women's health devices, were labeled as "sterile," but because they never reached the sterilization facility, they had not, in fact, been sterilized.

In December 2015, at least $18,000 worth of medical "dummies," tubing devices, and electronics were reported stolen from the Naval Support Activities Washington complex, the oldest naval installation in the United States. In an affidavit, the agent reported finding some of the missing items listed for sale on eBay.com under an account of a training facility employee at the base.

Unfortunately, cases of stolen medical devices often turn out to be inside jobs. In September 2016, a former sales representative at Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Endosurgery was convicted on charges of conspiring to transport stolen medical devices in interstate commerce, money laundering, and other charges. That case was uncovered as part of a Miami, FL-based FDA investigation known as "Operation Miami Device." The investigation had already led to convictions in more than 20 cases of medical device theft. Operation Miami Device resulted in forfeitures, fines, and restitution totaling more than $5 million.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Pedersen

Amanda Pedersen is a veteran journalist and award-winning columnist with a passion for helping medical device professionals connect the dots between the medtech news of the day and the bigger picture. She has been covering the medtech industry since 2006.

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