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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Report: More Problems With Medical Device Payments To Surgeons

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I wrote just two days ago about a Reuters report on the potential conflicts created by kickback-type payments to physicians who use certain medical devices. Now the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported that payments by Medtronic to spine surgeons may have covered up a cancer-link from Medtronic’s Infuse and Amplify spinal fusion products.

Doctors paid millions of dollars by Medtronic failed to identify a significant cancer risk with the company’s spine surgery product in a 2009 paper about results of a large clinical trial.

As the Journal Sentinel reported, both Medtronic and the doctors knew of the cancer link, but mentioned the cancer link only in a table accompanying the paper — the text of the paper itself never mentioned the cancer link.

According to independent medical experts who reviewed the study for the Journal Sentinel, said the cancer cases occurring three years after Medtronic’s Amplify was implanted showed a clear statistical significance in that the data showed that 12 patients were diagnosed with cancer after receiving the Amplify implant while only 3 were diagnosed with cancer after receiving grafts of their own hip bone.

These problems continue to illustrate the conflicts of interest created when medical device companies pay off the physicians researching and using their products.

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[More on Medical Device Problems]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

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