Medtronic reveals charitable disclosures under mounting pressure

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Pressure from lawmakers, such as Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has led Medtronic to publish a list of its charitable donations, which totaled more than $1 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2008.

The recent disclosure on Medtronic’s website reflects ongoing scrutiny of medical device makers for payments that might influence doctors to use their products, including sponsorships of continuing medical education seminars.

Following inquiries from Grassley, Medtronic agreed in March to publish its donations to physicians and the organizations affiliated with them.

Significant donations include:

  • $170,000 - American Association of Heart Failure Nurses;
  • $150,000 – American Heart Association;
  • $75,000 - Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions;
  • $74,000 -  Potomac Center for Medical Education for its chronic total occlusion program;
  • $67,000 - Heart Failure Society; and
  • $52,500 - Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.

Medtronic reported that it donated $12,500 to the American College of Cardiology (ACC) from May 1 to July 25 this year.

The Minneapolis-based company said the donations listed are separate from those made by the Medtronic Foundation, which makes grants to various global charities, many of which have no ties to the doctors who are Medtronic's key customers.

In 2006, Medtronic paid $40 million to settle federal allegations that it paid kickbacks to spine surgeons and civil litigation related to alleged bribery continues.