June 1997 AAOS Report

Academy initiates appeal of pedicle screw decision

The Academy along with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society and Scoliosis Research Society has initiated the process to seek reversal of Judge Louis Bechtle's recent decision not to dismiss conspiracy allegations against the medical societies in the pedicle screw multidistrict litigation. The societies asserted in their motions that seminars in which the pedicle screw were discussed were forums for continuing medical education that are protected under the free speech branch of the First Amendment. In other related news, Judge Bechtle denied the motion of the Plaintiffs Legal Committee (PLC) to prevent the defendant experts from using the Pedicle Screw Cohort Study as a basis of opinions favorable to the use of pedicle screws. The PLC claimed that the study "was not reliable due to flaws in the protocol and administration." In allowing the use of the cohort study during the trial, Judge Bechtle found "no basis for the PLC's charges that surgeons selectively submitted data favorable to pedicle fixation with screws or that they submitted inaccurate information." A scientific committee composed of representatives from the Academy, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society and Congress of Neurosurgeons conducted the Pedicle Screw Cohort Study in 1993-1994 at the request of the Food and Drug Administration.

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