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Study challenges safety of Medtronic stent; also: Best Buy trying to save energy, and Sun Country boosted by magazine poll

One cardiologist calls the results of a new safety study “sobering” for Medtronic’s drug-coated Endeavor stent. The large-scale Danish study was presented Thursday at a cardiovascular conference in Washington, D.C., Bloomberg reports. It found patients implanted with the Medtronic device were more likely to suffer heart attacks or serious blood clots than those with a rival device made by Johnson & Johnson. A spokesman for Fridley-based Medtronic said the results are “interesting” but “far from extraordinary proof.” The Wall Street Journal reports that other studies this week appeared to bolster claims of Endeavor’s safety.

More Medtronic: That conference in Washington, the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Symposium? Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin want to know who’s paying for it, Bloomberg also reports. Gifts and payments to physicians have been coming under increasing scrutiny in recent months. The senators wrote a letter requesting information about support for the conference received from companies, including Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson.

Best Buy says it’s taking steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 8 percent by 2012. The strategies to meet that goal include: installing energy-efficient HVAC and lighting in new and existing stores; implementing a nationwide no-idling policy for its fleet; using technology to better track energy usage and spikes; and testing out solar panels on select stores. How about turning off some of those big-screen TVs if nobody’s watching them?

Sun Country could use some good news these days. Something to take its mind off its bankruptcy and the jailing of its primary investor. This will have to do: The readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine have voted Sun Country the fifth-best domestic airline. The carrier is in the top five for the third year in a row. “I’m extremely proud of our employees, especially in light of the challenges they have faced within the past month,” said CEO Stan Gadek. Virgin America tops the list, followed by JetBlue, Midwest and Hawaiian airlines.

When commodity prices go up, food companies are typically quick to pass along the higher costs to customers. When ingredient prices drop, though — surprise, surprise — those same companies don’t leap to slash grocery store prices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sounds a bit like the oil business. Anyway, with commodities falling, food company profits are growing. Analysts said companies with strong brands like General Mills tend to have the strongest pricing power.

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