Medtronic is cutting 40 jobs in Minnesota, Minnepolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports. Although the company has not provided many details, it is known that the job losses are in Fridley, where the headquarters for its corporate functions and neuromodulation business are located, and in Mounds View, the site of Medtronic’s cardiac rhythm disease management and structural heart division.
The company informed the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in April and the agency recently disclosed this information in an update to its Dislocated Worker Program report. It is unclear whether the employees have already been laid off or if the job cuts are pending.
Medtronic is facing legal issues over several of its devices. It has been under scrutiny over the past few years due to the controversy of Infuse, a bone growth product that has been on the market since 2002. It uses a genetically engineered protein to help regrow bone in the spine and some types of dental procedures. However, it has become the subject of safety concerns amidst allegations that the company paid doctors to hide side effects such as male sterility, cancer, infections, pain and bone dissolution.
Issues with Infuse came to light in June 2011, when the Spine Journal dedicated an entire issue to side effects associated with the product. The group of spine experts who published the review found that Medtronic-funded studies omitted a number of side effects. This helped spur several government investigations. A follow-up Senate report found that Medtronic employees had helped write and edit studies promoting the use of Infuse. The report also found that Medtronic had paid millions in royalties and consulting fees to authors of studies promoting Infuse.
The company is also facing a lawsuit over its SynchroMed EL pump and catheter. The suit accuses the company of failing to warn regulators about issues with the device. It was filed by a now-deceased man who became a paraplegic after undergoing surgery with the products. A recent Supreme Court decision denying Medtronic’s preemption request helped move the suit forward.
Medtronic recentled resolved whistleblower claims for $2.8 million. Thirty-six states and the federal government were involved in the settlement, Legal Newsline reports. In 2011, former Medtronic employees filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. They accused the company of submitting false claims to Medicaid programs by improperly soliciting Medicaid recipients to replace their insulin infusion pumps. Whistleblowers are protected by law when they have knowledge of wrongdoing and file a lawsuit on behalf of the government. If the case is successful, the whistleblowers are entitled to a portion of the money recovered.