Several days have passed since my initial post about the NAEMSE/Masimo issue. I have certainly had quite a few phone calls and many more emails. One of the most interesting and appropriate calls described Masimo's marketing activities as similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Picture it. You are one of the few people that hasn't been infected by the Masimo virus. You act like you have...always worrying that one of the Masimo people will see that you haven't been infected...and then eat your head or something.
I made my previous post at 9:02am EST. By 12:00 noon on the same day I had 4 hits on my blog from Masimo in East Irvine, CA. To date there have been 7.
Lets look at what Masimo has done to market (aka push, shove down our throats) their CO-oximetry product.
They developed curricula for EMS providers and distributed it through NAEMSE. NAEMSE sent a letter to its membership recommending CO screening and the educational products developed under a grant by Masimo. Masimo then sent out a mondo press release which was picked up on hundreds of web sites from CNBC, Reuters and market watch to industry news sites.
They developed curricula for firefighters and distributed it through IAFF. I am in the process of obtaining the CD and accompanying paperwork from this mailing. I'll report back on this.
They have a supplement to JEMS this month touting a "Standardized Curriculum on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning." How did this become "standardized?"
They are the only listed sponsor of firerehab.com. Note the dramatic scrolling list of news with a bent towards CO poisoning incidents.
The are behind firegrantshelp.com because the sponsor of this site is firerehab.com (sponsored by Masimo) Check out their sponsors page. Grants for CO-oximetry anyone?
They have sponsored most current research on CO-oximetry. They also regularly sponsor sessions at conferences which relate to their products.
They have giant booths at EMS and fire shows. They give away big things. I got a nice duffel to carry my dirty laundry home from JEMS.
While not a smoking gun, it is interesting to note that some links to materials on CO-oximetry are dead links including a link to an IAFF PDF on firerescue1.com and the Masimo Carbon Monoxide Training Center at the National Paramedic Institute
Enough already. While companies have the right to push FDA approved devices as much as they want (and make as much money as they want) this borders on exploitative and manipulative. How about taking the money you plan to spend on your next round of pointing out just how necessary and important your product is and REDUCE THE $4,000 PRICE TAG so it can do some of the good you claim it does?
Masimo stock, in its IPO on 8/7/07, was offered at $17.00. At last close it was $40.25 (a 136.8% return in just over 4 months). Despite all the good Masimo may claim to be doing through its lectures, curriculum development and web site sponsoring, let's face it, it is about making money for the corporation.
And back to NAEMSE, the letter was wrong. Period. NAEMSE needs to disclose to its members how much it accepted from Masimo on what dates, who wrote that letter and offer an apology to its membership for this ethical lapse--whether intentional, by oversight or appearance.
Am I ungrateful? No. Practical? Likely. Skeptical? Definitely.
Beware of anyone who takes such lengths to tell us what we need. If it was this important wouldn't it be obvious? Maybe the need to spend $4000.00 isn't as obvious as some would like us to think.