Surgeons make millions on Medtronic payroll

Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device maker, hit the motherlode with a bioengineered bone growth protein widely used since 2002 in spinal fusion surgery.  Known as INFUSE® Bone Graft, it’s a genetically engineered version of a protein that’s naturally released by the body and used during surgery to stimulate bone growth – for example, in order to strengthen the lower spine by fusing two adjacent vertebrae together.

But Medtronic forgot to mention that many of its favourable studies published about INFUSE had been drafted and edited by its own employees (including marketing department staff, in a practice called medical ghostwriting) while 13 physicians claiming to be the study authors had been paid $210 million by Medtronic over a 15-year period, according to a U.S. Senate investigation. Continue reading