Bionic eye company going out of business, leaving patients "in the dark"

Originally published at: Bionic eye company going out of business, leaving patients "in the dark" | Boing Boing


This is a disgraceful disregard of human life.

FDA needs to ensure continuation of implanted medical device service even in the event of corporate shutdown using public funding, and require the company to open source the design and software in the event of liquidation if they cannot provide continued service who underwent the procedure.


It’s the blind leading the blind.

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Medical devices obviously shouldn’t be approved unless the design is exhaustively, publicly documented, and it shouldn’t be possible for intellectual property law to block medically necessary interventions.

But I’m not sure if either of those is even the main problem here. Ultimately, if you rely on a for-profit business to make things like this, then it’s entirely down to them to keep making the thing, and they can’t do that, even if they want to, unless it makes them money.

I mean, they could put everything about the device in the public domain, but it still wouldn’t mean anyone was making the devices, or paying to get updated versions approved. What you’d need is a system that could pay to support the technology as long as people need it, regardless of what the market says.

(I believe similar problems came up with atomic pacemakers and iron lung machines; it wasn’t an IP issue, there just wasn’t anyone with the desire or wherewithal to make the things any more, and if you still needed one, the invisible hand’s response was an invisible middle finger)


I’m sure there are some genetic surgeons in Chiba City who could patch them up – for some Tessier-Ashpool amounts of coin.


Yeah, the few still living users of iron lungs are reliant on friendly mechanics to keep them alive. At least those are external items.


This reminds me of a subplot in Jeunet’s Big Bug! :slight_smile:

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