Friday, June 25, 2010

Medtronic and Transparency: Well Said, Mr. Hawkins

Recently, Medtronic announced that it too, would begin posting online the dollar amounts, above $5,000, that it pays its physician-consultants, joining the ranks of other medical industries that have begun listing their KOL payments. The new health care reform law will require Medtronic to do this in 2013, but Medtronic is smart to do it now.

What caught our attention is how succinct Medtronic Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Hawkins put the need for KOL involvement in product development, whether it’s medical devices or a drug. He told the Wall Street Journal that his field is very technical and highly dependent on collaboration between Medtronic engineers and outside consultants.

"I'm hard-pressed to think of any innovation we've had that didn't come from Medtronic working with physicians,” he said. 

Industry, while acknowledging that transparency has its place, needs to stress the value of industry-physician collaboration, and the good that has come of it.

We certainly believe that the two need to exist, and now even some journal editors believe that too. We think these arrangements can be appropriately structured to ensure the transparency everyone requires while not going overboard by gutting private investment in medical science.

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