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Yogurt, pacemakers compel conflict-of-interest issues in Florida

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"Yogurt-gate," anyone? Yogurt is at the center of a medical device industry conflict-of-interest issue in Florida. Hollywood cardiologist Mark Sabbota and St. Jude Medical ($STJ) sales rep Charles Lodowski are partners in two corporations that run frozen yogurt shops. But as the Miami Herald reports, Lodowski also sells Sabbota $5,000 pacemakers, which he implants regularly in patients. Their partnership may be perfectly fine, but some industry observers told the newspaper that patients deserve to know about a doctor's financial relationship with companies. Sabbota denied any conflict of interest, and the hospital with which Sabbota works agreed with him. Lodowski did not return calls. St. Jude spokeswoman Amy Jo Meyer told the Miami Herald that the company was reviewing the information, but noted that an AdvaMed industry code of ethics limits things like fancy meals, trips and other gifts in exchange for business, but does not address business partnerships. Story

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