Medtronic is considered one of larges medical providers in the world. But perhaps because of the company's size, it has now attracted the attention of the United States Senate.

Medtronic has been in the business of manufacturing a product called Infuse. Infuse is a spine treatment product that the company claimed was superior to other bone grafts due to there being no harvesting of bones from the patients' pelvis. However, the Senate has now accused Medtronic of promoting the product without downplaying the risks of this procedure.

A Senate committee has claimed that Medtronic changed the outcome of studies from outside researchers concerning the procedures. Apparently there were disputes among physicians regarding asserted side effects of the procedure (such as male sterility), and this information received little mention in the studies that Medtronic had sponsored.

According to the committee, Medtronic paid as much as $210 million to doctors involved in reporting about Infuse. Medtronic is in essence now being accused of paying some of these doctors off.

The claims that any companies make do need to be challenged. Without lawsuits brought by injured clients and experienced products liability attorneys, these types of extravagant claims can lead others continuing using products or procedures that cause injury.

Businesses making profits off of the sale and marketing of a product should not be allowed to influence any so-called independent inquiry as to the merits and defects of the product. As in the above example, patients may rely on the claims of these companies when undergoing a procedure as invasive as a bone graft. When making such a vital decision, only accurate information should be made available.

Source: The New York Times, "Panel Says Medtronic Edited Product Studies," by Barry Meier, Oct. 25, 2012

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