Dr. Thomas Zdeblick Defends Relationship With Medtronic, Disputes Inappropriate Reporting Claims


Thomas Zdeblick, MD, a spine surgeon and chairman of the department of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who co-authored three studies with Medtronic and received the highest-known physician payments from the company at $21 million, is defending his financial relationship and disclosure policy with Medtronic, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report.

Some of the royalties he received are from an LT Cage, which is used with Infuse, but otherwise his relationship was unrelated to the controversial BMPs. Dr. Zdeblick's research is criticized in North American Spine Society's The Spine Journal, and his financial ties with Medtronic are under scrutiny by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which has sent the company a letter asking for financial records and communications with physicians.

Dr. Zdeblick maintains that he reported his research accurately, and the retrograde ejaculation experienced by some male patients wasn't reported because it wasn't statistically significant. In the report, he said the study published in The Spine Journal which found a significantly higher rate of RE among Infuse patients than surgeons originally reported occurred because surgeons in the new study were using the product for off-label applications. He maintained that when used for approved applications, the instances of RE occur in less than 1 percent of patients.

He also said he always discloses his financial relationship with Medtronic to his patients, the university, the press and at scientific meetings. Neither Dr. Zdeblick nor other UW hospital physicians receive royalties for using Medtronic products.

Read the report about Dr. Thomas Zdeblick's relationship with Medtronic.

Related Articles on Physician Relationships With Device Companies:

Neurosurgeon Under Investigation After Potentially Inappropriate Ties to Spine Device Company

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5 Senators Request Investigation Into Legality of Physician-Owned Distributorships

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