Medtronic Spent $1.07 Million In First-Quarter Lobbying
Medical device giant Medtronic spent $1.07 million in the first quarter of the year to lobby Congress, including on health issues such as a provision of the new overhaul law that will extract up to $3 billion a year in fees from device makers, The Associated Press/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. "While industry executives have complained about the fees, Democratic lawmakers say device companies will benefit from health care reform as more patients will become insured and therefore eligible to get their products. The company also lobbied on efforts in Congress to make it easier for patients to sue medical device companies via personal injury lawsuits" (6/1).
Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal: Meanwhile, the "dollar's climbing value threatens to pressure sales in coming quarters for U.S. medical-device and drug makers that are big exporters to Europe." The dollar's 15 percent rise against the euro so far this year means European governments -- strapped for cash anyway -- may further cut health spending. "U.S. drug and device heavyweights like Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Medtronic Inc. (MDT) generate a substantial portion of business overseas and in local currencies. When those currencies lose value against the dollar, local sales aren't worth as much when translated back into dollars" (Kamp, 6/1).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Also, Medtronic disclosed Tuesday that it paid $15.7 million in consulting fees and royalties to 227 doctors. "The Fridley-based medical products giant has come under fire in recent years for hefty payments to doctors that creates at least an appearance of a conflict of interest. The industry defended the practice as crucial to product development, but Medtronic agreed last year to reveal the names of doctors to whom it made payments of more than $5,000." Beginning in 2012, Medtronic and all other device makers will have to disclose such payments because of a provision in the health law. The disclosures were first reported Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal (Alexander, 6/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.