The regents governing the University of California reportedly agreed to pony up $8.5 million to settle a pair of lawsuits brought against a former UCLA spine surgeon who used Medtronic‘s (NYSE:MDT) controversial InFuse bone-growth protein in their back surgeries.
The lawsuits filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court accused Dr. Jeffrey Wang of failing to disclose his financial ties to Medtronic, according to UCLA’s Daily Bruin. The UC regents agreed to pay $4.2 million to plaintiff Jerome Lew and $4.25 million to plaintiff Ralph Weiss, each of whom alleged that Wang failed to gain their consent before using InFuse in their surgeries.
In Lew’s case, a cervical procedure for which InFuse was never approved (the FDA later warned of the risk of serious or fatal adverse events if InFuse is used during cervical operations), the lawsuit alleged that bone overgrowth in his spine caused by the product resulted in debilitating, chronic nerve damage despite corrective surgeries, the newspaper reported. Wang allegedly knew about the 2008 FDA warning before Lew’s 2009 procedure, according to the lawsuit, and allegedly failed to disclose his financial relationship with Medtronic, according to the paper.
Weiss alleged that Wang should have disclosed that he helped develop the SeaSpine (NSDQ:SPNE) device used in his 2010 surgery and also failed to disclose his financial links to both companies. Wang left UCLA in the fall of 2013, according to the newspaper.