Lawmakers probe Medtronic payments to physicians

Medtronic headquarters
Medtronic is headquartered in the Twin Cities.
MPR Photo/Tom Crann

Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate are pressuring Medtronic to disclose more about its consulting arrangements with physicians, citing prior allegations the company paid kickbacks to surgeons to boost sales of spinal implants.

In separate letters issued Tuesday, Senators Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, asked the company to provide details about physicians who receive company payments for consulting services.

The two lawmakers have repeatedly criticized the influence pharmaceutical and medical device companies hold over doctors. A bill written by the senators would require companies to disclose all payments to physicians over $500.

Medtronic says in a statement that it is very supportive of industrywide transparency, and notes that it has supported Grassley and Kohl's bill.

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(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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