U.S. News

Medtronic Paid Accused Doctor $788,000

Barry Meier|The New York Times

Medtronic said on Wednesday that it had paid nearly $800,000 over an eight-year period to a former military surgeon who has been accused by the Army of falsifying a medical journal study involving one of the company’s products.

The surgeon, Dr. Timothy R. Kuklo, claimed in the study that the use of a Medtronic bone growth product called Infuse had proved highly beneficial in treating leg injuries suffered by American soldiers in Iraq.

The British medical journal that published the article retracted it this year after an internal Army investigation found that Dr. Kuklo had forged the names of four other doctors on the study and had cited data that did not match military records.

Other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Dr. Kuklo worked until August 2006, said that he had also overstated the benefits of the Medtronic product.

Dr. Kuklo, who now works as an assistant medical professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has repeatedly declined to comment on the situation. Medtronic has said it was not involved in any way with the challenged report.

The company is under investigation by the Justice Department and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, in connection with possibly illegally marketing of Infuse through outside physicians like Dr. Kuklo who work for it as consultants. The company has denied doing so. Last month, it suspended Dr. Kuklo’s consulting contract.

In the last few weeks, Medtronic, which initially declined to say what it had paid Dr. Kuklo or even when it had hired him, has been under growing pressure from Senator Grassley to disclose its financial ties to Dr. Kuklo.

In information released on Wednesday, Medtronic said that it made about $788,280 in direct payments to Dr. Kuklo between 2001 and 2009.

It described those funds as either reimbursement for travel expenses, or payments for speaking or training other doctors on Medtronic’s behalf, or for consulting. The company said that those consulting services included working on the design of new or existing orthopedic products and surgical instruments.

The company also said that from 2001 to 2007, it made about $64,000 in indirect payments to Dr. Kuklo in connection with attendance at medical meetings and other events.

It is legal for military doctors to receive payments from medical products companies, but they are supposed to seek permission from officials. Army officials have said they have not found records to indicate that Dr. Kuklo sought or received such clearance.