Doctors profit from removal of implants


Representatives of a plastic surgery group left out part of the story this week when they assured a federal advisory panel that women in need would receive financial aid for the removal of silicone breast implants for medical reasons.

It turns out that the help is from a loan agency that charges 16.9 percent interest, and the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons Inc. pockets a profit from the deal.

That's not the way it sounded when Dr. Garry Brody, the society's secretary, told the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel: "I can assure you, financial help will be available to any woman." The women are referred to Household Retail Services, a division of the Household Finance Corp.

"The organization does get a percentage of the interest," acknowledged Dr. Norman Cole, president of the plastic surgery group, on Thursday.

Dr. Cole said he didn't know what the percentage was, and yesterday, spokesman Kevin Murry said: "The commission rate is private. I'm not going to release that."

Dr. Brody, who had boasted of his profession's long history of providing free help, said he saw no conflict in having his group make money on the loans. "It's the American way," he said.

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