First lawsuit targets Guidant defibrillator

Medical device maker Guidant continued to defend itself from criticism of its decision to keep a discontinued defibrillator on the market, even after it learned of a design problem affecting the device. The company is arguing that the Ventak Prizm is perfectly safe and that it made changes to its design simply to err on the side of caution. According to one estimate, the defibrillator is implanted in about 20,000 patients. Wall Street has shrugged off the charges, with the company's stock continuing to trade at around the $73 per share, the price it was at when the story broke. The Food and Drug Administration is looking into the issue.

A sign that more problems may lie ahead for Guidant came yesterday, as a 74-year-old man filed a lawsuit in an Indianapolis court charging the device maker with fraud and negligence. The lawsuit, which is being handled by Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein of New York and San Francisco, seeks class-action status.

- see this story from the Indianapolis Star
- see this story from the Chicago Tribune