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Guidant Corporation, Medtronic and St. Jude Medical, three big makers of implantable heart devices, acknowledged receiving subpoenas from the United States Department of Justice. Apparently, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into possible violations of federal anti-fraud and anti-kickback statutes. Such violations could involve giving illegal payments or other benefits to doctors to use and promote the companies’ products.

Guidant also received a separate subpoena related to the following specific Guidant devices: the Prizm 2 DR defibrillator, the Contak Renewal advanced pacemaker and a related device, the Contak Renewal 2. These devices were recalled several months ago because of defects that could cause their failure to work when needed. Guidant did not warn doctors about the defects until earlier this year, even though the company had known of some of the defects since 2002.

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