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Netflix Documentary Exposes the Dangers of the Medical Device Industry

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A new Netflix documentary takes a critical look at the medical device industry and how it has failed patients.

“The Bleeding Edge,” which will be released on Netflix on July 27, explores the $400-billion-dollar industry that manufactures and sells devices like pacemakers, birth control, implants and prosthetic limbs, and how weak safety regulations, political motives, and pursuit of profits can lead to harmful consequences for patients.

Those featured in the documentary reveal the complications they endured after receiving medical devices. One woman says a medical device broke off inside her, causing a connective tissue disorder that started deteriorating her joints, and a man says he started going blind and seeing stars.

“People think pharma’s got power,” an expert interviewed for the film says in the trailer,  “no, no, no, the device industry has much more power.”

The film may have already had an impact on the industry. On Friday, Bayer said it would stop selling Essure, a birth control device featured in the film that thousands of women have said caused complications like injuries to their reproductive organs. The U.S. was the last country to sell Essure after Bayer stopped selling it in other countries like England and France.

Though Bayer claimed the decision was due to declining sales, not the device’s safety, “The Bleeding Edge” producers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering chalked up the decision as a testament to the power of documentary filmmaking.

“This is exactly why we do this work: This film has already changed policies and changed history,” Dick said in a statement.

Lead photo courtesy of The Bleeding Edge Facebook

Originally published: July 23, 2018
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