Medtronic details payments to docs

Are deals between Medtronic and physicians “innovation through collaboration,” or sweetheart deals to drum up some business?

Medtronic has unveiled a Web site that reports financial arrangements between the company and physicians. It’s doing so voluntarily, although a federal law takes effect in 2013 that requires such deals be made public.

The move comes in advance of a federal law requiring the disclosures by 2013, and after Medtronic has drew the attention of the Justice Department for its payments to orthopedic surgeons. Some lawmakers have said the money is used to pay doctors to recommend their products.

Medtronic released information on doctors who received more than $5,000 in payments for a calendar year. In the first quarter, the company paid more than $15 million to doctors, mostly for royalties for their surgical inventions.

The company paid $40 million a few years ago to settle a federal complaint that it paid kickbacks to doctors in exchange for recommending Medtronic products.

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