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Kickback Suit Targets Medtronics

January 25, 2006|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A whistle-blower lawsuit alleges medical device maker Medtronic Inc. improperly paid millions of dollars to more than a dozen doctors nationwide, prompting them to perform unnecessary spinal surgeries and otherwise affecting their judgment.

One surgeon was allegedly paid $400,000 for eight days of consulting per year. Another surgeon received $1.39 million from 2001 through May 2005, according to a lawsuit filed by Jacqueline Kay Poteet, a former employee of subsidiary Medtronic Sofamor Danek.

Poteet, who made travel arrangements for doctors to often lavish company conferences, also alleges payments were used to induce the doctors named in the suit and others to use Medtronic products and to recruit other doctors to do the same.

Medtronic spokesman Rob Clark said he could not comment directly on pending litigation but said, "We do not tolerate conduct that is illegal or unethical."

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