NYT examines medical technology donations to Paulsen, others

WASHINGTON — Rep. Erik Paulsen has raised more than $904,000 for his re-election campaign. Nearly $125,000 of that has come from people with connections to medical technology companies, an industry Paulsen has sought to help on Capitol Hill.

The New York Times examined the donation habits of medical technology venture capitalists on Wednesday, opening their story with an examination of donations to Paulsen after he testified on the FDA’s medical device approval process in June.

One afternoon last spring, a little-known congressman from Minnesota made an impassioned plea before a House oversight committee.

Rein in the Food and Drug Administration’s uncertain approval process for new medical devices, urged the Minnesota congressman, Erik Paulsen, or Minnesota and other states stand to lose up to 400,000 jobs because of lost investment in the device industry.

Over the following month, Mr. Paulsen’s campaign committee took in $74,000 from people with a stake in device regulation, much of it from executives affiliated with venture capital funds and their spouses. Now Mr. Paulsen, a two-term Republican, is a sponsor of a bill that would make it easier to bring new medical products to market.

An associated graphic shows that Paulsen has received nearly $125,000 from medical device stakeholders.

But Paulsen, the co-chair of the Medical Technology Caucus, is hardly alone in receiving donations. Venture capitalists have donated more than $3.3 million to members of both parties over the last five years, the Times reported. About 20 percent of that money went to lawmakers “supporting a streamlining of F.D.A. policy or other issues of importance to medical products producers.”

For Paulsen’s part, a spokesman said the testimony that preceded the influx of donations had nothing to do with raising campaign funds: “He gave his testimony because he feels these jobs are being threatened by an inconsistent and unpredictable F.D.A.,” Tom Erickson told the Times.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Nancy Gertner on 10/26/2011 - 11:41 am.

    Yes Congressman Paulsen, roll away that pesky regulative legislation that keeps me from getting medical devices implanted as soon as they are invented. How many of those devices are your daughters guinea pigs for?

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/26/2011 - 12:51 pm.

    Ah, yes … more of the mantra from the right-wing: UNCERTAINTY is paralyzing businesses and keeping them from hiring.

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