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Medtronic Pays $85M to Settle Suits Over Infuse Bone-Growth Device

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Medtronic Inc. agreed to pay $85 million to settle claims that executives misled shareholders about the profitability of the company’s Infuse bone-growth device.

Medtronic, the world’s biggest maker of heart-rhythm devices, will resolve the securities-fraud lawsuits alleging the company inflated the value of its shares by promoting the Infuse system for unapproved uses and then basing future revenue projections on the illegal sales.

Spinal Fusions

Disaffected Medtronic shareholders, including pension funds such as the Minneapolis Firefighters Relief Association, sued in 2008 alleging that company officials initiated an illegal marketing campaign for Infuse.

Company officials pushed salespeople to market the product for illnesses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hadn’t yet approved it for, shareholders said in the suits.

While doctors may prescribe drugs for uses not approved as safe and effective by government regulators, companies are forbidden to market them for so-called off-label uses.

The case is Minneapolis Firefighters Relief Association v. Medtronic, 08-06324, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (Minneapolis).