Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Medtronic Will Disclose Payments to Doctors

The Wall Street Journal reports that medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. will begin to make public disclosure of all payments over $5,000 it makes to physicians. The company "said it will report the information annually and that the first such disclosure will take place in March 2011 for payments beginning next January." This announcement follows the requests by two US senators that the company disclose more about its consulting arrangements with physicians, as well as allegations "that the company paid surgeons to boost spinal implant sales," the AP notes. "Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer Inc. have already volunteered to publish such information, and Medtronic said its decision was also voluntary."

Minnesota's Star Tribune says that "Medtronic and other med-tech companies have long maintained that their relationship with doctors differs greatly from those employed by the drug industry," as physicians often "need training on new devices, or their input is needed to improve products." Critics, however, "have charged that such payments...can influence doctors' practice decisions and are designed to win brand loyalty."

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