This week, The Spine Journal, a scientific peer-reviewed journal of the North American Spine Society, came out with a special issue that critically compared clinical reports of products used to foster bone growth, in a case of a major conflict of interest with potentially devastating results. Doctors had been writing positive peer-reviewed research reviews about a product called Infuse, by a medical device company called Medtronic, but failed to mention that their own research showed the product had proven complications, including higher cancer rates and male infertility. The same doctors were also collecting royalties and fees totaling at least $62 million from Medtronic.
We are joined by John Fauber, the medical reporter who broke the case for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Medpage Today. He says this case is more critical than others, because the doctors were not just earning money from Medtronic, but were directly invested in the company's financial well-being.
We also speak with Dr. Christopher Bono, editor-in-chief for the focus issue of The Spine Journal, chief of orthopedic spine service at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, and associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School.