Medtronic spent more than $1.2M lobbying in 1Q

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Medtronic Inc., the world’s largest medical device maker, spent more than $1.2 million lobbying Congress in the first quarter, according to a recent disclosure report.

The Minneapolis-based company lobbied lawmakers on a bill aimed at updating the U.S. patent system. The pharmaceutical and medical device industries have argued that reform efforts must not weaken patent protections on medical products by reducing infringement penalties. The reform effort has largely stalled in Congress.

Medtronic also lobbied on legislation that would increase the regulation of medical devices manufactured in foreign countries by charging additional user fees for FDA inspections, according to a form filed April 20 with the House clerk’s office.

The company also lobbied on efforts in the House 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. Democrats, backed by trial lawyers and patient groups, want to overturn that decision, which they say misinterprets the law.

The medical device industry has argued that overriding the decision would allow state courts to second-guess the FDA’s medical experts.

Medtronic also lobbied on various proposals to overhaul the U.S. health care system in both the House and Senate.

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