ECRI Sues Guidant to Keep Publishing Prices
The non-profit Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) has sued Guidant in Federal District Court in Pennsylvania. ECRI has asked the court to rule on whether it is within its rights to reject Guidant’s claim that ECRI’s publication of prices paid by hospitals is forbidden. Guidant argues that confidentiality clauses in its contracts with hospitals prevent them from sharing price information with third parties so ECRI should not publish them either. Paul Donovan, a spokesman for Guidant’s parent company Boston Scientific, was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying: “It’s a fairness issue. We simply don’t want the price negotiated privately with one hospital based on one set of circumstances used against us in negotiations with another hospital.” He did not elaborate on how hospitals are supposed to make informed price decisions without price transparency in the marketplace.
ECRI wants to avoid the fate of health-care consulting firm Aspen Healthcare Metrics which was not allowed to share Guidant prices by a federal judge in Minnesota earlier this year (see Repertoire and HIGPA for background). According to the Wall Street Journal the ECRI suit says Guidant sent letters last year warning ECRI to remove Guidant prices from its database.