By: 9 April 2015
Fake spinal parts made in body shop

Surgery patients claim that counterfeit hardware was implanted in their spines.

More than two dozen lawsuits have been filed in a Los Angeles court alleging that a former hospital executive and a collection of his business partners was behind counterfeit screws and hardware used in spinal surgeries at various hospitals in Southern California.

The lawsuits claim that patients unknowingly underwent spinal surgeries with doctors who benefited financially by using counterfeit hardware that was allegedly made at a body shop and performing surgery at particular hospitals.

Michael Drobot was indicted in February for his role in bribing a state senator to protect the $500 million insurance fraud scheme he was using to cheat the state’s workers compensation fund. Also named in the lawsuit are Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, Riverside Community Hospital, Spinal Solutions, Orthopedic Alliance, Crowder Machine & Tool Shop and a number of other doctors. Drobot’s operation included bribes for doctors and others who referred patients to his hospital, used hardware distributed by his partners and inflated prices for medical hardware.

The lawsuits say the victims are “among thousands of spinal fusion surgery patients in Southern California and elsewhere who [have] such counterfeit, non-FDA approved medical devices implanted into their bodies as a consequence of the systematic pattern of fraud and deceit.”

Drobot has filed a $50 million defamation suit in response and has asked for his sentencing to be postponed until October 2015.