June 18, 2009

Consultant accused of false spine study

Medtronic Inc., a U.S. medical device maker, paid nearly $800,000 to a former Army consultant accused of fabricating a favorable study, officials say.

Some of the reported fees on a key spine product came at a time when Dr. Timothy Kuklo was shopping his positive study of Medtronic's Infuse bone-graft product to medical journals, The Wall Street Journal said.

The paper, published last August in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, reported advantages in healing the legs of injured soldiers when Infuse was used but the Army said the study was based on falsified information.

Medtronic said the fees were compensation for Kuklo's work developing products, training doctors and other duties and not connected to the study or the industry paper.

Bone and Joint Surgery withdrew the paper after the Army contacted it about the fraud allegations. Medtronic placed its consulting relationship with Kuklo on inactive status in May. The doctor has not spoken publicly about the matter, the newspaper said.