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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP | Nov 2, 2012

Medtronic Refutes Senate Finance Committee Charges

In a blog post last week, we reported the recent findings by the Senate Finance Committee regarding Medtronic’s $210 million in payments to doctors who wrote misleading articles about Medtronic’s Infuse Bone Graft product. The Committee accused Medtronic of “distort[ing] the facts” about Infuse through these articles, which were published in medical journals.

This week, Medtronic hotly opposed the Committee’s charges that it influenced the doctors’ presentation of Infuse in the articles – or that Medtronic wrote them – according to an article on Medical Marketing & Media’s website. The company called the Committee’s depiction of the payments “misleading and unfair’ and stated, “[T]he vast majority of such payments were royalty payments made to compensate physicians for their intellectual property rights and contributions, not consulting payments.”

The Senate report also accused Medtronic of playing a “significant role in authoring or substantively editing these articles” by not listing all side effects of the product.

Medtronic agreed with the Committee’s assertion that drug companies, medical device manufacturers, and medical journals should disclose their relationship to physicians. It noted one of its own policies that it developed early on for that purpose. Medtronic continued to defend its interaction with doctors, however, and reportedly said that the collaboration between physicians and the expertise of its own employees was “vital to innovation and advancing patient care."

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