Senators ask Columbia: did Martin Leon fail to disclose millions of dollars received from industry?

Updated– Senators Herb Kohl and Charles Grassley have once again raised the issue of potentially undisclosed conflicts of interest involving Martin Leon and the Cardiovascular Research Foundation he founded. The senators’ letter coincided with TCT 2009, the group’s well-known annual meeting for interventional cardiologists, which is now taking place in San Francisco.

The senators’ letter to Columbia University was first reported by Barry Meier in a story in the New York Times. Based on their review of information received in their investigation of medical device makers, the senators state that “Dr. Leon appears to have failed to report millions of dollars that he has received in outside income.” The senate letter is based on discrepancies between information received from industry and from the disclosure statements submitted by Leon.

A spokesperson for  Columbia University Medical Center said the information in the letter was being reviewed to ascertain whether “all appropriate disclosures” were made, according to Meier. Leon submitted an amended disclosure statement in December of last year following the beginning of the senate investigation.

Meier states in his story that it is uncertain whether there were any new disclosures in the senators’ letter. The single largest payment mentioned in the letter, $6.9 million from Edwards, has been previously made public, though apparently Leon neglected to report this payment, and many of the others listed in the letter, in his amended disclosure statement. The senators claim that even the amended statements don’t fully report all payments received by Leon from Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic and the Volcano Corporation.

Update: Here are a few of the larger items listed in the appendix to the senators’ letter. Besides the previously disclosed $6.9 million payment from Edwards mentioned above, the largest items in the list are from the Cardiovascular Research Foundation for $402,000 in 2003 and $328,000 in 2004.

2003

  • Volcano Corporation (consulting)
    • 12,500
  • Cordis/J&J (travel reimbursement/consulting
    • $33,900

2004

  • Medtronic (consulting)
    • $12,500
  • Volcano (consulting)
    • $30,000
  • Cordis/J&J (consulting)
    • $23,000

2005

  • Prescient Medical (honoraria for advisory board)
    • $21,600
  • Volcano (consulting)
    • $30,000
  • Cordis/J&J (travel reimbursement/consulting
    • $19,500

2006

  • Boston Scientific (honoraria for advisory board)
    • $18,600
  • Volcano (consulting)
    • $30,000

    Volcano (honorarium for IVUS training course at Lenox Hill Hospital)

    • $19,500
  • Cordis/J&J (travel reimbursement/consulting
    • $18,500

2007

  • Medtronic (consulting)
    • $68,400
  • Boston Scientific (Honoraria for advisory board)
    • $15,400
  • Volcano (consulting)
    • $30,000

2008

  • Medtronic (consulting)
    • $44,500
  • Boston Scientific (Honoraria for advisory board)
    • $26,800
  • Volcano (consulting)
    • $22,500

    Prescient Medical (consulting)

    • $20,700

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