Medical device group spent $364K lobbying in 1Q

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The medical device industry’s chief advocacy group spent $364,638 lobbying the federal government in the first quarter of the year, according to a recent disclosure report.

The Advanced Medical Technology Association, whose members include Medtronic Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp., lobbied on legislation affecting a range of devices, from pacemakers to catheters to artificial hips.

The group also lobbied on the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would require drug and medical device makers to disclose all gifts and payments over $100 made to physicians. The bill’s sponsors — Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Herb Kohl, D-Wis. — are longtime critics of corporate influence over how physicians practice medicine.

While the proposal initially drew criticism from companies, AdvaMed actually endorsed the bill last year after some states began proposing even tougher reporting requirements.

AdvaMed also lobbied on efforts in the House of Representatives 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 gives 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.

AdvaMed has argued that overriding the decision would allow state courts to second-guess medical experts and create a “patchwork of inconsistent and confusing guidance.”

The group also lobbied on patent reform and efforts to bolster Food and Drug Administration’s safety inspections.

Besides Congress, AdvaMed lobbied the Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA in the January-March period, according to a form filed April 20 with the Senate’s public records office.

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