Medtronic Inc., the world's largest medical device maker, spent $829,200 lobbying Congress on issues affecting its products in the second quarter, according to a recent disclosure form.
The company lobbied on efforts in Congress 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 gave federal regulators the final say in declaring a device safe or unsafe. Democrats, backed by trial lawyers and patient groups, want to overturn that decision, which they say misinterprets the law.
Medtronic and other device makers argue that overriding the decision would allow state courts to second-guess medical experts and create inconsistent rules for devices.
The company, which makes pacemakers and other medical implants, also lobbied on bills designed to help fund the Food and Drug Administration's inspections of more manufacturing facilities outside the U.S. by charging new fees to companies.
Medtronic lobbyists also advocated their position 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.
Minneapolis-based Medtronic spent $1.07 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2010 and $1.03 on lobbying in the prior-year period.