MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) yesterday pledged a $6 million donation to fight rheumatic fever and the heart damage it can cause, as part of a United Nations initiative to improve the health of women and children.
Often the result of strep throat infections, rheumatic fever can cause inflammation damaging heart valves, rheumatic heart disease kills 350,000 people annually – many of them children – according to estimates by the World Heart Federation. It’s also the most preventable form of cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Jacob Gayle, a vice president in Medtronic’s philanthropic arm.
The organizations hope the Medtronic investment will help reduce premature mortality from the disease by 25% for those afflicted who are under 25 years old. Other participating organizations include the Global Heart Network and RhEACH.
Medtronic said the funding would support the creation of a 1st-of-its-kind technical hub at a location that has yet to be determined.
Medtronic’s philanthropic donations totaled $64.4 million in 2013, 72% of devoted to beneficiaries in the U.S. Dating back to 1949, when Medtronic was founded, the company has pledged more than $730 million to various causes, supporting health access, innovation and disaster relief among other efforts, according to a press release.
Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic is in the middle of a $42.9 billion acquisition of Ireland-based Covidien, where it would establish a new headquarters and by extension get favorable tax treatment for cash assets. The U.S. Treasury Dept. this week instituted new rules governing such deals, known as inversions.
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