The Associated Press June 1, 2010, 1:37PM ET

Medtronic spent over $1 million lobbying in 1Q

Medtronic Inc., the world's largest medical device maker, spent about $1.07 million lobbying Congress in the first quarter, according to a recent disclosure form.

The company lobbied on parts of the health care overhaul passed into law in March that call on medical device makers to pay between $2 billion and $3 billion in fees per year to fund expanding health care coverage. While industry executives have complained about the fees, Democratic lawmakers say device companies will benefit from health care reform as more patients will become insured and therefore eligible to get their products.

The company also lobbied on efforts in Congress to make it easier for patients to sue medical device companies via personal injury lawsuits.

Medical device companies are largely shielded from patient lawsuits at the state level by a Supreme Court decision that gave federal regulators the final say in declaring a device safe or unsafe. Democrats, backed by trial lawyers and patient groups, want to overturn that decision, which they say misinterprets the law.

Medtronic lobbyists also advocated their position on a bill aimed at updating the U.S. patent system. The pharmaceutical and medical device industries have argued that reform efforts must not weaken patent protections on medical products by reducing infringement penalties. The reform effort has largely stalled in Congress.

Medtronic also lobbied on legislation that would increase the regulation of medical devices manufactured in foreign countries by charging additional user fees for FDA inspections, according to a form filed April 20 with the House clerk's office.


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