Senate calls Medtronic to explain payments to surgeons

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Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), a member of the Senate panel that oversees Medicare, has called medical device company Medtronic to the Senate to explain payments made to spine surgeons, according to The New York Times (NYT).

The NYT reported that last year, Medtronic reached a $40 million settlement with the federal government over accusations that it had paid illegal kickbacks to doctors for using its spinal devices. Medtronic has continued to pay doctors millions of dollars in consulting fees, an attorney representing a whistle-blower in the case told The NYT.

Grassley wrote to Medtronic, asking for an explanation about any payments made since the period covered under the settlement. Grassley is conducting a broad inquiry into the financial ties that often exist between doctors and medical device and drug companies.

Medtronic defended the recent payments as legitimate compensation for the doctors’ work, and said it welcomed the opportunity to speak with Grassley and his staff.