Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) commented today on a report that Infuse, a bone growth product produced by Medtronic, provided "little or no benefit" to patients when compared to alternative treatments and may have had harmful side effects. The report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, confirms the findings of an investigation Chairman Baucus led last year, which revealed extensive, questionable ties between Medtronic and the physician consultants tasked with testing and reviewing its products. The resulting studies, as published, inaccurately represented Infuse's risks and placed added weight on side effects of alternative treatments. From Chairman Baucus:
"There is more and more evidence of collusive relationships between Medtronic and the consultant doctors who published studies on Infuse. If not for those relationships and the misleading studies they produced, patients might have gotten more effective treatments and avoided harmful side effects.
"The bottom line is ailing patients should never have to fear they're being sold a bill of goods. The review process for medical products clearly needs much greater transparency in order to guarantee patients are getting the high-quality care they expect and deserve."