Author Topic: An unfree market for medical devices  (Read 329 times)

TheDrake

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An unfree market for medical devices
« on: January 16, 2019, 08:59:05 AM »
I was reading an article about a new handheld ultrasound device that is run from an app.

faq - butterfly network

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Butterfly iQ can be purchased by a physician licensed to practice in the United States in good standing under applicable state law or by the order of such a physician for use in professional practice as authorized by law.

Now, I probably wasn't going to buy this thing, but I really don't see why it has to be prohibited. It isn't a drug. It isn't habit forming.

Meanwhile, what does affect me is a CPAP machine. It isn't possible for me to buy a replacement mask online without a prescription (my original one would not be considered current).

I also wear eyeglasses. If I haven't had my eyes checked within the past twelve months, I can't order eyeglasses even if the prescription is the same as the ones I'm wearing.

No wonder healthcare costs rise when consumers are coerced to have doctor visits they don't want and don't need.

Even worse, this leads to black market used goods that are even less safe. People sell old CPAP machines on craigslist, with no guarantee of function or sterilization. People get eyeglasses secondhand and try to find one that is close enough. Some online sellers sneak through a loophole and sell CPAP mask components separately rather than assembled.

Is there some reason why people have to be protected from ordering improper equipment? Or even more oddly from buying non-intrusive diagnostic equipment?

NobleHunter

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Re: An unfree market for medical devices
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2019, 10:51:43 AM »
I think there's a bunch of more or less credible reasons to limit people's ability to buy medical adjacent technology but I suspect it's primarily a means to limit liability and to reduce competition. While there are major benefits to the professionalization of medical practice, it also means placing restrictions on the market of medical services.

Seriati

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Re: An unfree market for medical devices
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2019, 11:24:54 AM »
It's probably because people think things like the idea that an ultra sound is "non-invasive" means it's completely safe to use on yourself.  It's low risk in a controlled environment with trained personal, it is not necessarily low risk in other contexts (it can actually cause biological changes in your body, including some with potentially very dangerous impacts).

I think the biggest risk with CPAPs is with misuse, but not being under care means that people that self administer may be unaware of the risks of side effects or of conditions that develop because of improper use.  Let alone the truly stupid who do things like connect their vapes to their CPAP machine (there's actually forums on this). 

TheDrake

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Re: An unfree market for medical devices
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 11:56:16 AM »
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It's probably because people think things like the idea that an ultra sound is "non-invasive" means it's completely safe to use on yourself.  It's low risk in a controlled environment with trained personal, it is not necessarily low risk in other contexts (it can actually cause biological changes in your body, including some with potentially very dangerous impacts).

I could say the same about fireworks, but we sell those in many states. The same is true of a nail gun or an electromagnet. But I'll concede the point with respect to ultrasound generally, it could be causing damage silently.

And unfortunately Vape-PAP is a thing in one form or another. I'll never be able to unsee that post where somebody claimed it "felt weird to vape with their mask on". I'll try to convince myself that they were trying to be funny.