U surgeon’s relationship with Medtronic questioned

Jessica Van Berkel

A University of Minnesota surgeon was paid about $1.2 million in consulting fees by Medtronic, which Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said was a possible conflict of interest in his 142-page letter to the University on July 24.

 

Grassley said Dr. David Polly, chief of the University’s spine service, did not disclose his relationship with Medtronic while testifying to a Senate committee.

 

Polly told the Star Tribune he did not hide his relationship with Medtronic, and followed University rules of disclosure.

 

The University requires doctors to report payments from business relationships, but there is no limit to how much a doctor can receive. Under the policy, Polly was required to record that he had received more than $10,000, despite having received more than $200,000 a year from Medtronic between 2004 and 2007, the Star Tribune reported.

 

University of Minnesota conflict of interest policies have drawn questions in the past. The school is revising its policies, but when the revisions will be finished in unknown.

 

Grassley has conducted inquiries into 23 university medical schools across the U.S. as part of his proposed Physician Payment Sunshine Act. If passed, the Act would require medical product companies to make their payments to doctors public.

 

Grassley asked the University of Minnesota to provide more information on Polly’s relationship with Medtronic by Aug. 7.