+ A

FTC finds Smith & Nephew used sales staff in surgery

Feb 14,2019
Korea’s corporate watchdog is punishing the Korean unit of global medical equipment company Smith & Nephew for providing members of its sales team as surgery support staff to hospitals.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Wednesday it fined the company 300 million won ($267,141) for violating fair trade and medical device laws and ordered corrective measures for engaging in unfair and illegal practices that were intended to increase equipment sales.

From 2007 to 2014, the company’s sales employees took part in surgery as support personnel instead of medical professionals, such as nurses and physician assistants at seven hospitals who used its equipment, according to the FTC.

Medical equipment sales staff can only provide technical support for devices during surgeries.

The FTC investigation also found that Smith & Nephew covered health care providers with excessive costs for taking part in academic conferences and overseas training.

This is the first time that the FTC ordered measures against a medical equipment company for providing workforce support.

By Chae Yun-hwan