Feds probe Medtronic payments to docs

The feds are investigating payments Medtronic made to doctors, hospitals, and others that use its heart devices and stents. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a U.S. Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania has asked the company for details on both cash and in-kind payments. This particular U.S. Attorney, Patrick Meehan, has previously prosecuted healthcare fraud cases involving pharma companies and benefits managers.

Earlier this year, Sen. Charles Grassley asked for information on Medtronic's payments to orthopedic surgeons. Grassley has introduced a bill that would require device and drug makers to disclose payments they make to doctors.

The company has said it pays doctors for help developing new products and for training other doctors to use them. A spokeswoman wouldn't comment on this particular investigation.

- see Medtronic's SEC filing (information on this investigation is under Legal Proceedings)
- check out this report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press