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Medical journal wins award for reporting on problems with Medtronic bone product

We've written extensively about a recent Stanford study (.pdf) that links health problems and an increased cancer risk with a bone-growth product sold by Medtronic. Now The Spine Journal, which published this and other reports on the product in a special issue in June, has received the 2011 “Journalism That Matters” award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Stanford orthopedist Eugene J. Carragee, MD, edits the journal.

From the New York Times' Media Decoder:

It is highly unusual for one group of researchers to publicly repudiate the work of professional colleagues. And by throwing down its challenge, the special issue of The Spine Journal, which is the official journal of the North American Spine Society, was something of a turning point in the debate over conflicts of interest in research paid for by makers of medical products.

For their part, the Medtronic-supported researchers who were scrutinized by The Spine Journal have defended their findings. And Medtronic has said it reported all adverse reactions related to Infuse to the Food and Drug Administration.

But there is little doubt that The Spine Journal’s coverage has had an effect. Last week, Medtronic took the unusual step of announcing that it was giving a $2.5 million grant to Yale so that independent researchers could conduct a broad review of all Infuse studies in order to determine the facts. The editor of The Spine Journal, Dr. Eugene J. Carragee, called the move an important first step.

Previously: For the record: Carragee on Medtronic spine stories, Stanford-led study on Medtronic bone product dominates the headlines, Stanford orthopedist reveals problems with Medtronic spinal fusion product and Stanford study links spine product to male infertility

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