Biotronik responds to NYT report

Biotronik is striking back after articles appearing in the New York Times questioned payments the company made to Nevada doctors. After these reports appeared, state officials began looking into whether the payments were inappropriate.

In his original piece, Barry Meier points out that Biotronik, which is relatively unknown, "has cornered the market on pacemakers and defibrillators at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada." In fact, he reports, 250 of the 263 patients--or 95 percent--who had a heart device implanted at the hospital center last year got one made by the company. Biotronik had hired several cardiologists in mid-2008 from the hospital as consultants, Meier says. Company documents indicate these doctors received as much as $5,000 a month.

The devicemaker says in a defiant statement that it had "well-documented exchanges of information" with the NYT for the 73 days prior to publication, and the two parties had discussed the subject "no less than a dozen times." But even though Biotronik says it provided the paper information making it clear it had done nothing unethical or illegal, "the newspaper chose to ignore these facts," instead electing to challenge "the integrity of highly trained physicians who have spent a lifetime treating patients with potentially deadly heart arrhythmias and pacing issues."

Biotronik also comes to the defense of the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, saying it had been treated unfairly by the paper.

- get the Biotronik statement *
- see an opinion piece by columnist Steve Sebelius

* Press release updated.