Four hip- and knee-replacement manufacturers -- Biomet, Johnson & Johnson's DePuy Orthopedics, Smith & Nephew, and Stryker Corp. -- received subpoenas from the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, N.J., for documents related to any consulting and service contracts between the companies and orthopedic surgeons who use or are considering using the companies' orthopedic implants. All four companies said they intended to cooperate with the request. In a report, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Edward Shenkan said that the inquiry, expected to be "lengthy and comprehensive," likely would lead orthopedic companies throughout the industry to become more conservative in their consulting relationships with physicians, resulting in fewer and smaller price increases. "We infer that the inability of the orthopedic manufacturers to police themselves signals that the government may be more assertive in monitoring sales and marketing practices in the future," Shenkan said. -- by Cinda Becker
U.S. probing orthopedics firms' deals with doctors
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