Medtronic to disclose doc payments

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Medtronic announced that it will disclose payments to US physicians starting in 2011.

The Minneapolis-based device-maker said in February it would begin gathering information on consulting fees, royalties or honoraria next January and will report on payments to physicians receiving over $5,000 in March 2011 and annually, thereafter. Consulting agreements are understood to include counsel for areas such as education and training, clinical trial design and administration and product design and safety. Data will be posted to the company's website.

“Relationships between industry and doctors are essential to innovation, education and training in our industry,” said Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill Hawkins in a statement. “Through greater transparency about the nature of these relationships, we will help people better understand how important they are to developing life-saving and enhancing products for patients who need them.”

In August, Medtronic launched an online donations registry, reporting its donations to US customers or organizations affiliated with customers, including patient groups and medical societies.

A number of big pharmaceutical firms have rolled out similar transparency efforts in recent months, and Congress is likely to make reporting of payments to physicians of more than $100 mandatory under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, currently pending in the Senate. Medtronic supports the legislation. 
“We will work hard with the bill sponsors to get this legislation passed,” said Hawkins. “These efforts will ensure a level playing field and consistency in reporting.”

Earlier in February, Pfizer announced plans to publicly disclose payments to US physicians, healthcare professionals and clinical investigators in excess of $500 per year, along with non-monetary items worth more than $25.
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