Medtronic to pay $12m to settle Infuse false marketing claims

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Medtronic's InFuse

Medtronic‘s (NYSE:MDT) spinal devices division has agreed to pay $12 million to settle allegations that the medtech giant made false claims to doctors and patients about its Infuse bone-growth protein, according to a Star Tribune report.

States joining in the settlement include California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington and Oregon, according to the report.

In Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said that Medtronic Sofamor Danek agreed to settle claims that it manipulated journal articles to make its controversial Infuse protein appear safer than it was to sell more products, breaking Oregon law, the Star Tribune reports.

“It is unacceptable for a company to use company-sponsored literature with misleading data to try to show that its product is more effective than other therapies. By using these misleading claims, the company created a higher demand for Infuse in a range of surgeries — which led to greater and undeserved profits for the company,” Rosenblum said, according to the report.

The full five-state investigation closed Wednesday, though the Fridley, Minn.-based giant still expressly denies the allegations, the paper reported.

“Medtronic entered into an agreement with state Attorneys General … to resolve their inquiries into our promotional practices related to Infuse Bone Graft in their states … this agreement brings closure to this matter. Medtronic entered into this agreement solely for the purpose of settlement, and nothing related to it can be taken as an admission or concession of any violation of law, rule, regulation or of any liability or wrongdoing,” a Medtronic spokesperson said, according to the Star Tribune.

The company still faces more than 6,000 patient lawsuits relating to Infuse, with other lawsuits from both patients and investors pending. An investor case, Kokocinski v. Collins, was appealed to the Supreme Court and could see oral arguments in January, according to the report.

In July, Medtronic said it is closing in on a resolution to the long-running legal battles over its Infuse bone-growth protein designed for back surgeries.

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