Medtronic's Public Relations Devices



may have set a record.

The world's biggest medical device maker put out six press releases this morning. Six! One for earnings, one for financial guidance , one for restructuring , two for stent studies and one for a new diabetes deal with insulin maker Eli Lilly (in fairness, LLY took the lead on that one.) MDT makes insulin pumps. At the very least, couldn't they have lumped the guidance and restructuring stuff into the earnings release like most companies do?

I suspect the blizzard of announcements was, in part, an attempt to blunt the impact of yet another MDT product safety warning .

Late yesterday the company and the FDA announced that a letter has been sent to doctors calling their attention to a problem with the wiring in some older Medtronic pacemakers. That comes in the wake of Medtronic's well-documented issues with the wires in one of its implantable cardio defibrillators.

And then, to add insult to injury, "The New York Times" is running a story about a doctor-consultant to MDT allegedly falsifiying test results on one of the company's products.


I asked Chairman and CEO Bill Hawkins about all that during an exclusive interview on "Squawk on the Street" this morning.

I get that companies and especially political campaigns and elected officials try to control news cycles with spin and messaging.

It's a fact of life.

Just try to keep it literally on the same page, please.

UPDATE: Medtronic Responds

After reading my post, a Medtronic spokesman sent this email to my producer:

"I must say this is a bit imbalanced and frankly just plain wrong. Just like any company presenting data a major medical congress, we issue press releases surrounding critical news (milestones, late-breaking studies, etc.). We, along with our partners, also issue releases when we have relevant news to announce around a critical annual/quarterly milestone such as earnings. We issue our guidance separately to reflect the timing of its mention during our call, and we issued our workforce restructuring news in order to be as transparent and clear about these actions as possible. I'm disappointed that in our efforts to be as helpful, transparent and forthright as possible, we've been unfairly and inappropriately characterized as trying to 'control news cycles with spin and messaging.' While we are always open to streamlining and improving the way we communicate with you and all of our media colleagues, I respectfully request that Mike reconsider his characterization of us, particularly in light of how we have conducted ourselves in a highly professional, ethical and transparent manner."

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