The System Is Sick

by Patrick Appel

Conor Friedersdorf calls this article by Mariah Blake on the medical industry "the most important story of the year." It's about Thomas Shaw, a man who invented a syringe that dramatically cuts down on infections. The devices only cost a few pennies more but they haven't been adopted. The story is about how laws governing Group Purchasing Organizations are disrupting the implementation of innovations such as Shaw's:

For Shaw this unsolvable riddle has become a kind of obsession. He turns it over and over in his head like an engineering problem, as if the fix might come to him if he just looks at it from enough different angles. Perhaps the part he finds most perplexing is that it was largely government grants that paid for him to develop his retractable syringe. “I’ve spent twenty years fighting to return my obligation to the American taxpayer and to a government that turns its head from its responsibility to protect the free market,” he says. “The taxpayers got screwed out of the technology they paid for.”