According to this article in the New York Times (free registration req'd), a whistleblower lawsuit filed by (of course) a former employee claims that the same sort of "bribery" and influence peddling the pharmaceutical industry has been accused of also is rampant in the medical device area, specifically at Medtronic. From the article:
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Memphis two years ago and since amended, was brought by the whistle-blower, a former Medtronic employee. The Justice Department, which has the right to intervene in the case but has not yet done so, is seeking to recover Medicare funds. According to legal filings, it proposes that Medtronic settle the matter by paying $40 million.
The suit, which was sealed until Jan. 13, accuses Medtronic of giving spine surgeons "excessive remuneration, unlawful perquisites and bribes in other forms for purchasing goods and medical devices."
To step over the line into illegality, the payments must be shown to be made to try to induce the docs to use their products. In addition to giving docs consulting fees that sound pretty lucrative to me, the plaintiff, who served as a travel manager before leaving the company, also said (and here's the kicker for CME):
We'll probably be hearing a lot more about this one—stay tuned.