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More scrutiny of physician-industry ties

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Medtronic consultant, University of Minnesota professor and spine surgeon David Polly, Jr., M.D., is targeted in an ongoing investigation led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, into financial ties between medical professionals and device firms. In 2006, Polly lobbied extensively for continued funding of Department of Defense research into combat-related injuries, ultimately receiving DOD funds to head an animal study involving Medtronic's Infuse bone growth morphogenic protein. But in Senate testimony on behalf of the DOD funding, Polly did not disclose his consulting relationship with Medtronic, Grassley charges in a July 24 1letter to Polly's institution. The doctor billed Medtronic more than $50,000 for months of grant lobbying, according to the senator, and received upwards of $1.2 million in consulting fees and expenses from the firm between 2003 and 2007. Grassley sent a separate letter to the National Naval Medical Center on July 29 asking about its policies on physician financial disclosure reporting and conflicts of interest. Grassley sought responses to both letters by Aug. 7

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