I don't know about what happened with your last dog, but if you are looking for a good quality puppy, find a good breeder that health and temperament tests their dogs. Not every health issue is obviously visible, and neither are hip and elbow issues, so your friend is wrong in saying health testing doesn't matter.
I wouldn't give my money to someone who doesn't care about these things.
Warden - Sable GSD 4/23/2013
Blackjack - Black and tan GSD 4/23/11-6/1/2012