Former Synthes execs blacklisted over bone cement scandal

Now that they've completed their stints in federal prison, four former Synthes executives have been essentially banished from the healthcare industry for their roles in the Norian bone cement scandal that left three dead.

The Department of Health and Human Services has excluded Michael Huggins, Thomas Higgins, Richard Bohner and John Walsh from federal healthcare programs, meaning any company that might employ them would be ineligible for reimbursement through Medicare or Medicaid, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Considering the lengths devicemakers and pharma outfits go to secure federal nods, it's pretty unlikely any of the four will be fielding job offers in the near future.

The DHS didn't specify the length of the exclusions, but the Inquirer points out that many last 5 years. Furthermore, once the bans expire, the four will have to apply for reinstatement.

The execs were convicted last year of conducting illegal clinical trials of Synthes' bone cement, marketing it for spinal surgeries despite data linking Norian XR to the formation of blood clots. Use of the cement resulted in three fatalities, and the families of those patients are suing Synthes and some of its employees for wrongful death and elder abuse.

Synthes divested its Norian unit last year, selling it to Kensey Nash for $22 million, and the company has since been bought up by Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) in a deal worth $21.3 billion.

- read the Inquirer story