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US Senators Probe Cardiac Foundation’s Relationship To Device Makers

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Much to the dismay of cardiac doctors and medical device manufacturers meeting for their annual convention, two Senators from different sides of the aisle asked questions about the financial ties between the two parties. The lawmakers sent a letter to the sponsor of the convention, the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, asking the companies to disclose any financing received since 2003 from Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson and Medinol. They also asked for documentation of any payments or benefits the foundation paid to researchers. They also sent a letter to Columbia University, a longtime affiliate of the foundation. The senators are also proposing legislation that would require the industry to disclose such financial ties.

At the conference, doctors from around the world gather to view new products from major drug or medical device manufacturers; in this case, most products were focused on stents and other related surgical devices and drugs. At the same conference, researchers released the results of a new study, which indicates that a drug-coated stent called Endeavor, made by Medtronic, was linked to more heart attacks and deadly blood clots than the Cypher stent manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. The Cardiovascular Research Foundation has since agreed to cooperate fully with the information request; Columbia University said it would respond to the request as well. According to the Research Foundation’s most recent filings, it had revenue in 2005 of $47.2 million.