HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Informed Consent, Medical Devices, and Financial Conflicts of Interest

As reported in today's Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:

The Wall Street Journal on Monday examined how the Cleveland Clinic advocates and performs heart surgery with a medical device manufactured by AtriCure, despite undisclosed financial ties with the company. According to the Journal, Cleveland Clinic physicians "have been leading advocates of" the surgery, an operation for atrial fibrillation often called the "AtriCure procedure," but the hospital's "relationship with Atricure ... goes deeper." Cleveland Clinic helped found and invested in a venture capital partnership that owns about 4.1% of AtriCure stock, valued at about $7 million, and Clinic CEO Delos Cosgrove had served as a board member of the company until March. In addition, Cosgrove personally invested in the venture capital partnership and had served as a general managing partner of the fund until October. However, Cleveland Clinic did not disclose its financial ties to AtriCure to patients who underwent the AtriCure procedure. According to the Journal, Cleveland Clinic's conflict-of-interest committee raised concerns about the financial ties to AtriCure last spring (Armstrong, Wall Street Journal, 12/12[, page A1 (paid subscription required)].

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