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Three States Lay Out Deceptive-Trade Case Against Guidant

DALLAS (CN) - Texas, Ohio and Washington demand that Guidant Corp. stop dishonestly selling implantable cardiac defibrillators in those states.

Guidant started selling the Ventak Prizm 2 DR Model 1861 defibrillator in February 2002, but discovered that month that two wires - one negative, one positive - were too close together and could short out, the states say. Guidant redesigned it in April 2002 and again in November 2002, but kept selling the old ones. Guidant did not distinguish between the old and the new ones, nor warn doctors or the public. Guidant did not say boo until it learned, on May 23, 2005, that The New York Times was preparing a story on the defect, "and that the company had continued to sell devices that did not have the fix incorporated into them even after the fix had been made. Guidant continued to sell unmodified devices out of existing inventory without disclosing that the Prizm had been modified until July 2005. Approximately 4,000 such devices manufactured before April 2002 were sold after the fix had been made, but before Guidant stopped selling such units." Doctors and patients were not notified until July 17, 2005. The states demand, in state courts, that Guidant stop selling the devices made before April 2002. See the Texas complaint.

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