Medical device manufacture, Synthes Medical Company, has filed a number of lawsuits against former employees alleged to have violated non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. The lawsuits illustrate the rise of litigation within the medical world over non-competes.
Synthes, with whom I have firsthand experience, is very aggressive in prosecuting former employees who have violated non-compete agreements and non-solicitation agreements, against its former salespersons. A lot of this litigation has to deal with spinal implants, which are not surprisingly, very lucrative.
The medical industry is growing, and will continue to grow as our baby boomer generation ages. The projections are staggering:
By 2035, in the absence of change, spending for Medicare alone (which is more likely to be impacted by aging Boomers) will have more than doubled to 8 percent [of GDP], and by 2080 it will have grown to 15 percent.
The forecast for medical industry litigation includes more non-compete disputes between doctors and their medical groups as well as on the sales side of medical devices such as the Synthes lawsuits. As with any non-compete agreement, employers need to make sure that if they are using these agreements they will stick. Meaning employers need to have a strategy in place to enforce them and not simply put them in an employment contract as an afterthought. This is specifically an issue when you have sales persons in different state jurisdictions with different laws.