Transparency and Medtronic's $800,000 Doctor
Remember that former Army doctor accused of faking data in a published study that found positive results for a Medtronic product?
Turns out, Medtronic paid him nearly $800,000 over the past three years. Here's the report from this morning's WSJ.
Medtronic says it paid Timothy Kuklo (pictured) for developing products for the company, training doctors and speaking at company events, and that Medtronic wasn't connected to the study or journal article in any way. Kuklo hasn't publicly commented and didn't return a message left by the WSJ.
There are plenty of valid reasons for medical device makers to pay physicians -- for one thing, practicing doctors need to be involved in the development of new devices. But there's also been a push for public disclosure of these payments, and today's report does make us wonder how much Medtronic pays other doctors. We'll be able to find out -- but not for a while.
The company, like several other drug and device makers including Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Merck, has promised that it will start publicly disclosing payments to doctors. But the first Medtronic report, which will be on payments made in 2010, isn't due out until March 2011.