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Mölnlycke Sues Smith & Nephew Over 'False and Deceptive' Claims About Its Wound Dressings

The battle for pressure ulcer prevention heats up.

Published: October 26, 2017

UNPROVEN? Mölnlycke claims that Smith & Nephew has inflated claims about its Allevyn Life wound dressings. Not so, says Smith & Nephew.

Mölnlycke has filed suit against Smith & Nephew, accusing its competitor of making false and deceptive marketing claims about its Allevyn Life wound dressings, and thereby exposing patients to an increased risk of pressure ulcers — a charge Smith & Nephew denies.

The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, says Smith & Nephew has used advertisements, news releases, websites, brochures and trade shows to:

  • claim that a 2013 article in the International Wound Journal showed that its product could substantially reduce treatment costs, when in fact the article reflected a clinical trial that tested the use of Mõlnlycke's Mepilex Border Sacrum and Mepilex Heel;
  • assert that a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Critical Care had demonstrated that Smith & Nephew's product had reduced hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by 69%, despite the fact that the incidence rate had fallen by 60% before Allevyn Life was added to the effort; and
  • make "false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims" that its products provide greater protection against pressure ulcers than Mepilex Border, based on laboratory pressure redistribution studies involving a steel ball and a pressure mapping pad — studies, says Mölnlycke, that others have criticized.

Smith & Nephew issued a measured response, saying in an emailed statement that "disputes like these are not uncommon amongst two competitive companies" and that Smith & Nephew "stand[s] by the efficacy and safety of Allevyn Life for wound management and pressure ulcer prevention as part of a comprehensive pressure ulcer prevention program."

Jim Burger

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