Ch4 Article 1 - Lawsuit Says Medtronic Gave Doctors Array...

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Page 1 of 3 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved. Lawsuit Says Medtronic Gave Doctors Array of Perks By David Armstrong 1,390 words 25 September 2008 The Wall Street Journal J B1 English A lawsuit brought by a former Medtronic Inc. lawyer alleges the big medical-device maker gave surgeons a variety of incentives to use its products, including regular entertainment at a Memphis strip club, trips to Alaska and patent royalties on inventions they played no part in. The previously undisclosed allegations involve Medtronic's spinal-devices unit, which has $3 billion in annual revenue. The unit's business relationships with doctors who use its spinal-repair implants are being investigated by Sen. Charles Grassley and have been the focus of lawsuits by other former employees. Sen. Grassley has been looking into whether inducements for doctors, like those alleged in the lawyer's suit, have led to what surgeons say is widespread off-label use of Medtronic spine products. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Medtronic's spinal devices to treat certain conditions, and doctors are free to use FDA-approved products as they see fit. But the FDA has warned that surgeons' use of a Medtronic bone graft in ways the agency hasn't approved has led to potentially life-threatening side effects in dozens of patients. The former Medtronic lawyer's allegations are contained in a 2002 suit filed in U.S. District Court in Memphis against Minneapolis-based Medtronic and 10 doctors. The lawsuit and other filings in the case remain sealed, except for a heavily redacted copy of the complaint, which contains none of the doctors' names nor specifics of the allegations. Medtronic has refused repeated requests from the Senate Finance Committee's staff for an unredacted version. Sen. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, is the panel's ranking minority member. Even the identity of the plaintiff has been withheld. But, according to an unredacted copy of the lawsuit reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, she is Ami P. Kelley, a former senior legal counsel for the spine unit. Medtronic declined to comment on the lawsuit's allegations. It said it has changed many business practices
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Ch4 Article 1 - Lawsuit Says Medtronic Gave Doctors Array...

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