F.B.I. Investigates Cancer Risks of Power MorcellatorsMay 27, 2015 — The F.B.I. is investigating how much Johnson & Johnson knew about cancer-spreading hazards of its morcellator surgical tool before pulling them off the market last July.

According to the Wall Street Journal, F.B.I. agents have interviewed three people.

One of those people is Dr. Robert Lamparter, a former pathologist who warned the company about the issue back in 2006, eight years before the products were pulled off the market.

Dr. Lamparter contacted Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon division after noticing an unusually high percentage of morcellated uterine tissues contained undiagnosed cancer. He warned about a “1/150 to 1/300 chance that a uterus will have an unexpected malignancy” and asked the company to “reconsider the risk to the patient.”

His warnings led Ethicon to update the instructions for the device to warn that it “may lead to dissemination of malignant tissue.”

The F.B.I. also interviewed two women who say they were injured by the device, including Sarah Robinson, a physician assistant from California who has a list of 386 women who also believe their cancer was upstaged by a morcellator.

The other woman interviewed by the F.B.I., Dr. Amy Reed, has been one of the most influential leaders in the campaign to ban power morcellators. Dr. Reed, a 41 year-old mother with six children and an anesthesiologist in Boston, is now battling stage-4 leiomyosarcoma. Her concerns about the device went mainstream in December 2013, when the WSJ picked up the story.

In April 2014, the FDA concluded that 1 in 350 women who undergoes a hysterectomy for the treatment of fibroids actually has undiagnosed uterine cancer. The agency warned against the use of power morcellators in the “vast majority” of women.

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