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Medtronic-Paid Doc Didn’t Disclose Relationship in 2006 Senate Testimony

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Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA, has written Medtronic Inc. about a prominent spine surgeon who was being paid by the company when he testified before a Senate committee in 2006.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Dr. David Polly of the University of Minnesota did not tell lawmakers at the time that he had received compensation from Medtronic.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Medtronic said it was not aware that Polly had failed to tell the Senate committee about his financial ties to the company when he testified in May 2006.  Polly’s testimony involved funding for research into combat-related injuries.  One of Medtronic’s products, Infuse Bone Graft, has been used to treat wounded soldiers, the Journal said.

According to the Journal, Polly was paid more than $1 million by Medtronic from 2004 to 2007.  Following his May 2006 testimony, Dr. David Polly and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota received a $466,644 Department of Defense grant for a two-year study involving Infuse, the Journal said.  When the University of Minnesota approved Polly’s government-funded Infuse study, it said at the time that his “consulting duties for Medtronic appear sufficiently separate from the research he is performing.”  Right after the study was approved by the University, Polly billed Medtronic for writing up a different Infuse study.

Polly’s billing records revealed that he billed Medtronic $50,000 for lobbying-related costs.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Polly traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with members of Congress several times in 2005 and 2006.  The Journal also reported that Polly’s “billing rate was $4,750 for an eight-hour day in 2007, and he billed as many as 13,000 minutes a quarter — or 216 hours over three months. In some months, he conducted at least some Medtronic business on nearly every day.”

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