Senator Grassley scrutinizes another spine surgeon’s industry connections in ongoing inquiries

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U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s recent efforts at clarifying relationships between orthopedic surgeons and industry is now focusing on research conducted by spine surgeon David W. Polly Jr., MD, chief of the spine service at the University of Minnesota.

Grassley, who hails from Iowa and is a ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee, started to look more closely at Polly, a consultant to Medtronic, and found he failed to disclose in 2006 that Medtronic funded his travel to Washington. Polly appeared before a Senate committee on that trip to request funding for his research that involved using Medtronic’s Infuse bone graft substitute product to heal orthopedic injuries sustained by military personnel, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

Polly also told a university review committee that the only commercially available product was the Medtronic bone graft substitute, the article stated.

This week, University of Minnesota president Robert H. Bruininks received a letter from Grassley concerning the possible conflict of interest identified between Polly’s Department of Defense grant for using Infuse in his research and his consulting arrangement with Medtronic.

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