Posted: 07/12/15 13:27
by Dave Mindeman
Rep. Erik Paulsen (and the rest of the MN delegation for that matter) defends his quest to repeal the medical device tax by using rhetoric that refers to companies like Medtronic as victims of the ACA.
But it is hard to take that seriously when you read things like this:
New federal data show that Medtronic continues to pay millions of dollars to doctors whose research on a controversial spinal product has come into question. The Minnesota-run company's spine division, Medtronic Sofamor Danek, paid $60.7 million in royalties to 79 doctors and their affiliates in 2014, according to the data. That includes money that went to the authors of disputed studies of the back pain treatment Infuse, a product that has sparked hundreds of patient injury lawsuits.
Here we have a company that whines about the "onerous" medical device tax, yet has millions to pay out in lobbying and millions more to pay out in professional "bribery".
What is the Paulsen perspective on that?
And these payments (excuse me, "royalties" are being paid to doctors while the product, Infuse, is under fire....
More than 6,000 patient-injury claims have been filed in court or are awaiting filing, securities filings say. Medtronic has paid an average $23,000 per case to settle 950 cases, and set aside another $140 million for future legal costs.
That's a lot of money, right? But not in comparison to this:
Sales of Infuse exceeded $4 billion from 2002 to 2011.
Yet, Medtronic and the other device manufacturers (and all of them make these payments to doctors) insist that they cannot "afford" to pay this "unfair" and "onerous" medical device tax.
Maybe they should just pretend that the device tax is another of their questionable devices and set aside a few hundred million for future "payments".
Has Paulsen ever addressed Medtronic's actions in this regard? How does he justify repealing the tax and offering no revenue offset, which would force taxpayers to cover the gap, and not telling those same taxpayers that he defends an industry which routinely bribes doctors and settles lawsuits rather than recalling the product?
Where's THAT explanation?