Pelvic Mesh: Your Device is Tracked. So Are You

The FDA requires Medical Device distributors to track your device up until and including your death—including your name, address, phone number and social security number. Title 21 of the FDA regulations require the device distributor, final distributor, or multiple distributors (devices that move from patient to patient), promptly upon purchase, provide the manufacturer the name and addresses of all distributors along its journey to you, including the lot number, the date the device was received, and the person from whom it was received.

Tracking Devices vs. Device Tracking

The last distributor before your implant must also provide the manufacturer with their own name and address, the unique device identifier (e.g. lot or serial number), your name, address, phone number and social security number—unless you refuse to release that information under 821.55(a).* They must also record the date of your implant, name, address, and phone of both implanting surgeon and regular physician, and the date the device was explanted.

If a patient dies, the end point distributor must provide the date of death, name, address, and phone of treating physician, date of any explant with contact information for explanting physician, and, where applicable, and the date the device was returned to the manufacturer, retired from use or disposed of in any other way.

* Any patient receiving a device subject to tracking may refuse permission to release their name, address, phone and social security number or any other identifying information but, the hundreds of pelvic mesh implantees who were not told they had an implant or that a tracking system exists, would have no way to refuse permission. Title 21 can override a patient’s right to privacy if the “health or safety of the patient requires that such persons have access to the information.”

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