There are only two manufacturers of electroshock devices in the United States. One of them is Mecta, a small Oregon company located in an undistinguished Lake Oswego building on McEwan Road.
That company's fortunes may be greatly improved this week, when the Food and Drug Administration considers reclassifying electroshock devices in such a fashion that it would increase the acceptance of shock therapy. Such therapy is used to treat patients with severe depression.
At the urging of the American Psychiatric Association, the FDA is considering changing electroshock devices from the "high-risk" category to a "medium-risk" classification—the same category as syringes. About 100,000 Americans each year get shock therapy, in which enough electrical current is sent through the brain to cause a grand mal seizure.
But the practice still carries a good deal of stigma, both because of the imagery still fixed in many minds by the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and the allegations that shock therapy can sometimes cause memory loss and cognitive problems. The practice, however, has gained increased acceptance, particularly among psychiatrists. Were the FDA to make a change in classification, the benefits could be huge to Mecta, which has annual sales of a couple of million dollars.
The company is owned by Nicol and Robin Gorham, who bought it out of bankruptcy in the late 1970s. Neither owner returned WW's phone call.