Medtronic denies lawsuit claims, pulls YouTube ad after criticism

Medtronic is on the defensive, responding to both a patient death lawsuit and criticism of a YouTube video.

The Fridley-based medical-device maker issued a statement Wednesday denying that a Medtronic consultant recommended improper use of its InFuse Bone Graft product. Medtronic is being sued by the family of a California woman who died after the product was used in neck surgery, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

InFuse is only approved for use in lower-back surgery. It’s not illegal for doctors to use the product in other ways, but it is illegal for device companies to promote such “off-label” uses for their products. An attorney for the woman’s family tells Finance & Commerce that a Medtronic consultant was in the operating room during the procedure. (More: Star Tribune, Pioneer Press)

Meanwhile, Medtronic has removed an advertisement from the video-sharing website YouTube following criticism by a patients advocacy group. The commercial didn’t include the warnings about risks required in TV ads. The Prescription Project, which receives funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts, accused Medtronic and two other companies of trying to skirt consumer safety laws. (More: Star Tribune, Pioneer Press)

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