Medical device manufacturer Medtronic will pay $22 million to settle 950 patients' lawsuits over its Infuse synthetic bone growth product, say published reports — and that's just for starters.
The company is also earmarking $120 million to $140 million against the possibility of future litigation in federal and state courts, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today note may total 2,600 claims.
In a statement, the company explained that the $22 million represents "a compromise of disputed claims and is not in any way an admission of liability or validity of any defense in the litigation by Medtronic. The company continues to stand behind Infuse Bone Graft … and will vigorously defend the product and company actions in the remaining cases."
At present, 750 claims filed by 1,200 patients are proceeding through pre-trial motions.
Infuse, a synthetic alternative to natural bone grafts in spine fusion surgery, has been at the center of scientific and legal debates since it was revealed that the company paid 13 physician-researchers who published studies highlighting its benefits $210 million over the course of 15 years.
Additionally, the company's marketing division played a role in writing the studies, which failed to note Infuse's potentially serious complications. This discrepancy sparked a federal investigation and led several states' attorneys general to subpoena documents on the product's sales.