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Medtronic plc
TypePublic limited company
IndustryMedical equipment
PredecessorMedtronic Inc. (before the 2015 tax inversion to Ireland)
Founded1949; 72 years ago (1949)
Key people
ProductsMedical devices
US$30.8 billion
Number of employees
Increase 104,950 (2020)[3]

Medtronic plc is an American-Irish registered medical device company that primarily operates in the United States.[4][5] Medtronic has an operational and executive headquarters in Fridley, Minnesota in the US.[6][7] In 2015, Medtronic acquired Irish-tax registered Covidien (a U.S. tax inversion to Ireland from 2007), in the largest U.S. corporate tax inversion in history,[8][9] which enabled Medtronic to move its legal registration from the U.S. to Ireland.[10] Medtronic operates in 140 countries and employs over 104,950 people.[11]


Medtronic operational headquarters in Fridley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis

Medtronic was founded in 1949 in Minneapolis by Earl Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, as a medical equipment repair shop.[12]

Through his repair business, Bakken came to know C. Walton Lillehei, a doctor of heart surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The deficiencies of the artificial pacemakers of the day were made painfully obvious following a power outage over Halloween in 1957, which affected large sections of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.[13] A pacemaker-dependent paediatric patient of Lillehei died because of the blackout. The next day, Lillehei spoke with Bakken about developing some form of battery-powered pacemaker. Bakken modified the design for a transistorized metronome and created the first battery-powered external pacemaker.

Medtronic's original headquarters in St. Anthony, Minnesota

The company expanded through the 1950s, selling equipment built by other companies but also developing custom-made devices. Bakken built a small pacemaker that could be strapped to the body and powered by batteries. Work in the new field later produced an implantable pacemaker in 1960. The company built headquarters in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Anthony, Minnesota, in 1960[14] and the company moved to Fridley in the 1970s. Medtronic's main competitors in the cardiac rhythm field include Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical. In 1998, Medtronic acquired Physio-Control for $538 million.[15]

In February 2016, the company announced that it would acquire Bellco from private equity firm Charme Capital Partners.[16] In June, the company announced its acquisition of HeartWare International Inc. for $1.1 billion.[17] In December 2017, Medtronic acquired Crospon in EUR38 million ($45 million).[18] In September 2018 the company acquired Mazor Robotics for $1.64 billion ($58.50 per American Depository Share or $29.25 per ordinary share.[19] In late November, Medtronic acquired Nutrino Health Ltd boosting the companies nutrition-related data services and analytics.[20]

In May 2019, Medtronic announced it would acquire Titan Spine, a technology company focusing on titanium spine implants.[21] Chief Executive Officer Omar Ishrak will retire in April 2020 and will be succeeded by senior executive Geoff Martha.[22]

In January 2020, the company announced its intention to acquire Stimgenics, LLC and their primary therapy: differential target, multiplexed, spinal cord stimulation.[23] In July, the company announced it would acquire Medicrea for EUR7.00 per share.[24] In August, Medtronic announced it would acquire Companion Medical, who manufacture a smart insulin pen system, which connects to a diabetes management app.[25] In September Medtronic acquired Avenu Medical for an undisclosed sum.[26]

In February 2021, the company recalled its HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device.[27] In June 2021, the controller ports were pulled from the market. [28] On June 3, 2021, the FDA alerted physicians to stop new implants of the HVAD system due to "an increased risk of neurological adverse events and mortality associated with the internal pump."[29]

Acquisition history

  • Medtronic
    • Medtronic plc
      • Medtronic Inc. (Founded 1949)
        • Ardian Inc[30] (Acq 2010)
        • Osteotech Inc[31] (Acq 2010)
        • ATS Medical[32] (Acq 2010)
        • Krauth Cardiovascular[33] (Acq 2010)
        • Fogazzi[33] (Acq 2010)
        • Invatec[33] (Acq 2010)
        • PEAK Surgical, Inc[34]< (Acq 2011)
        • Salient Surgical Technologies Inc[35] (Acq 2011)
        • China Kanghui Holdings[36] (Acq 2012)
        • NGC Medical[37] (Acq 2014)
        • Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation (Acq 2014)[38]
        • TYRX Inc (Acq 2014)[39]
      • Covidien (Formed 2007 from Tyco International healthcare business spin off)
        • Sapheon Inc[40] (Acq 2014)
        • Reverse Medical Corporation[41] (Acq 2014)
        • Given Imaging[42] (Acq 2014)
        • Aspect Medical Systems
        • Somanetics Corp[43] (Acq 2010)
        • ev3 Inc[44] (Acq 2010)
        • CV Ingenuity[45] (Acq 2012)
        • BÂRRX[46] (Acq 2012)
        • Newport Medical Instruments[47] (Acq 2012)
        • superDimension[48] (Acq 2012)
        • Oridion Systems[49] (Acq 2012)
        • VNUS Medical Technologies
    • Advanced Uro-Solutions[50] (Acq 2015)
    • Diabeter[51] (Acq 2015)
    • CardioInsight Technologies[52] (Acq 2015)
    • Aptus Endosystems[53] (Acq 2015)
    • RF Surgical Systems[54] (Acq 2015)
    • Medina Medical[55] (Acq 2015)
    • Lazarus Effect[56] (Acq 2015)
    • Bellco[57] (Acq 2016)
    • HeartWare International Inc (Acq 2016)
    • Crospon (Acq 2017)
    • Mazor Robotics (Acq 2018)
    • Nutrino Health Ltd (Acq 2018)
    • Titan Spine (Acq 2019)
    • Stimgenics, LLC (Acq 2020)
    • Medicrea (Acq 2020)
    • Companion Medical (Acq 2020)
    • Avenu Medical[58] (Acq 2020)


Animal rights

In 2005, 2008, and 2010 PETA threatened to submit a shareholder resolution to improve animal welfare standards in the company. In 2005, PETA attempted to stop five specific animal experiments that it deemed "crude and cruel". In 2008, PETA protested the outsourcing of animal testing to countries with lax animal welfare laws, such as China. In 2010, PETA attempted to stop Medtronic's reported use of live animals in testing and training. In response, Medtronic conducted a feasibility study that found that banning the use of live animals was impractical. Medtronic continues to use live animals for testing and training but has said that it will look for alternatives in the future. In each case, PETA withdrew its shareholder resolution after talks with Medtronic's leadership.[59][60]

Tax inversion to Ireland

Medtronic legal headquarters, 20 Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

In June 2014, Medtronic announced it would execute a tax inversion to Ireland by acquiring Irish-based Covidien plc (a previous U.S. tax inversion to Ireland in 2007), for $42.9 billion in cash and stock.[10][61] The tax inversion enabled Medtronic to move its legal headquarters to Ireland, while maintaining its operational and executive headquarters in the U.S., thus allowing it to avoid taxation on more than $14 billion held overseas, and avail of Ireland's beneficial low corporation tax regime.[8] Medtronic's tax inversion is the largest tax inversion in history,[5][8][9] and given the changes in the U.S. tax-code in 2016 to block the Pfizer-Allergan Irish tax inversion, is likely to remain the largest.[7] Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak defended the tax inversion in a 2015 interview to the Financial Times saying, "We just followed the rules and the deal was done based on strategic merits".[11] Ireland is less than 0.1% of Medtronic (or Covidien) sales, and the majority of Medtronic's sales, and an even greater percentage of Medtronic profits (due to the higher margins on U.S. medical devices), are from the U.S. healthcare system.[5] In 2016, the Star Tribune reported that Medtronic was still winning U.S. Federal contracts and attending U.S. trade-missions as a U.S. company.[6]

In terms of scale, on 23 November 2018, Ireland's largest stockbrokers, Davy Stockbrokers reported that the total capitalization of the Irish stock market was EUR104 billion (this does not include Medtronic, which Davy do not consider an Irish company).[62] In contrast, on the same day Medtronic's capitalization was listed on Bloomberg at just over $130 billion (or EUR115 billion).

Medtronic's acquisition of Covidien plc made Medtronic the world's largest medical device company by revenues.[4]

Global rankings

In May 2018, Medtronic was ranked as the world's largest medical device company by 2017 revenues (see table below).[4][63][64]

In March 2017, Bloomberg's database of U.S. tax inversions listed Medtronic and Wright Medical Group (Medtronic's 2015 inversion to Ireland was over $100 billion, while Wright's 2015 inversion to the Netherlands was $3.3 billion), as the only U.S. tax inversions of a U.S. medical device company in history.[8] In February 2018, the Wall Street Journal listed Medtronic's 2015 tax inversion to Ireland as the largest U.S. corporate tax inversion executed between 2013 and 2016.[5] In May 2018, Medtronic was ranked as the largest corporate tax inversion in history.[65]

Largest global medical device companies (based on 2017 revenues)[4][63][64]
Rank Company name 2017 Revenue
($ m)
Legal headquarters
(tax registration)
Executive headquarters
(if different from legal)
Parent company
(if a subsidiary)
1 Medtronic 29,710 Dublin, Ireland Fridley, Minnesota, U.S. -
2 DePuy Synthes 26,592 Raynham, MA, U.S. - Johnson & Johnson
3 Fresenius Medical Care 20,900 Bad Homburg, Germany - Frensius SE
4 Philips Healthcare 20,896 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Philips
5 GE Healthcare 19,116 Chicago, Illinois, U.S. - General Electric
6 Siemens Healthineers 16,206 Erlangen, Germany - Siemens
7 Cardinal Health 13,524 Dublin, Ohio, U.S. - -
8 Stryker 12,444 Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S. - -
9 Becton Dickinson 12,093 Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, U.S. - -
10 Baxter International 10,561 Deerfield, Illinois, U.S. - -

Business units and Subsidiaries

Medtronic has four main business units: the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, the Diabetes Group, the Restorative Therapies Group, and the Cardiac and Vascular Group. Medtronic develops and manufactures devices and therapies to treat more than 30 chronic diseases, including heart failure, Parkinson disease, urinary incontinence, Down syndrome, obesity, chronic pain, spinal disorders and diabetes.


Cardiac rhythm disease management (CRDM) is the oldest and largest of Medtronic's business units. Its work in heart rhythm therapies dates back to 1957 when Bakken developed the first wearable heart pacemaker to treat abnormally slow heart rates. Since then, it has expanded its expertise in electrical stimulation to treat other cardiac rhythm diseases. It has also made an effort to address overall disease management by adding diagnostic and monitoring capabilities to many of its devices. An independently-operating Dutch pacemaker manufacturer, Vitatron, acquired by Medtronic in 1986, is now a European subsidiary of the unit.[66] Medtronic and Vitatron pacemakers are interrogated and programmed by Medtronic Carelink Model 2090 Programmer for Medtronic and Vitatron Devices; they use separate interfaces.[67]

In 2007, Medtronic recalled its Sprint Fidelis product, the flexible wires, or leads, which connect a defibrillator to the interior of the heart. The leads were found to be failing at an unacceptable rate, resulting in unnecessary shocks or no shocks when needed; either can be lethal. The scope of the problem continues to be a matter of research. Studies since the recall, disputed by Medtronic, suggest that the failure rate of already-implanted Sprint Fidelis leads is increasing exponentially. Medtronic's liability is limited by various court decisions.[68]

Spinal and biologics

Spinal and biologics is Medtronic's second-largest business. Medtronic is the world leader in spinal and musculoskeletal therapies. In 2007, Medtronic purchased Kyphon, a manufacturer and seller of spinal implants that are necessary for procedures like kyphoplasty.[69]

In May 2008, Medtronic Spine agreed to pay the US government $75 million to settle a qui tam lawsuit after a whistleblower alleged that Medtronic committed Medicare fraud. The company was charged with illegally convincing healthcare providers to offer kyphoplasty, a spinal fracture repair surgery, as an inpatient, not an outpatient, procedure to make thousands of dollars more in profits per surgery.[70]

A "special report" by writer Steven Brill in Time showed that according to Medtronic's quarterly SEC filing of October 2012, the company had, on average, a 75.1% profit margin on its spine products and therapies.[71]


Medtronic's cardiovascular therapies span the major specialties of interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, and vascular surgery. The products are used to reduce the potentially debilitating effects of coronary, aortic, and structural heart disease.


Neuromodulation is the second-oldest and third-largest department of Medtronic. Its products include neurostimulation systems and implantable drug delivery systems for chronic pain, common movement disorders, and urologic and gastrointestinal disorders. The department's revenues in 2014 amounted to $1.9 billion, or 11% of Medtronic's total revenues.[72]


The diabetes management manufacturing and sales division of Medtronic is based in Northridge, California.[73] The original company, Minimed Technologies, was founded in the early 1980s by Alfred E. Mann and spun off from Pacesetter Systems to design an insulin pump.[74] MiniMed 500 was one of the first light weight insulin pumps on the market, and it helped bring insulin pump usage to the mainstream market.

In 1996, the MiniMed was redesigned to make it more appealing to consumers. The new design was met by boosted adoption rate, and sales increased by 357%.[75] In the early 2000s, Medtronic purchased Minimed, to form Medtronic Minimed.[76]

On 11 May 2009, Medtronic announced it had chosen San Antonio, Texas, for the location of its new Diabetes Therapy Management and Education Center. The company announced that it expected 1400 new jobs would be created to staff the 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) facility.[77]

In September 2016, the FDA approved a device, MiniMed 670G, which automatically pumps insulin to a diabetic patient's body on sensing its absence or reduction.[78]

Surgical technologies

O-arm Surgical Imaging System. Federal Center of Neurosurgery in Tyumen, 2013

The surgical technologies business group designed and manufactured products for the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) diseases and cranial, spinal, and neurologic conditions. It also encompassed a surgical navigation division to design "StealthStation" systems, software, and instruments for computer assisted surgery (CAS) and a special intraoperative X-ray imaging system (3D fluoroscopy), known as the O-arm Imaging System. Many of the products are used for minimally-invasive surgical procedures. In 2016, the business unit was dissolved, and each site folded into new business groups.

Technology safety

In 2011, an independent security researcher, Jay Radcliffe, revealed a security vulnerability in a Medtronic insulin pump at the Computer Security conference Black Hat Briefings, allowing an attacker to take control of the pump. Medtronic responded by assuring users of the full safety of its devices.[79]

In 2008, a team of computer security researchers was able to take remote control of a Medtronic cardiac implant. The team, using an unused implant in a lab, was able to control the electrical shocks delivered by the defibrillator component and even glean patient data from the device.[80]

In February 2020, Medtronic recalled around 322,000 MiniMed insulin pumps with faulty pump retainer rings, which had been correlated to death and around 2,000 injuries.[81]

Portable ventilators

On 30 March 2020, Medtronic shared its portable ventilator design specifications during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, in order to accelerate global ventilator production.[82]



Vitatron is a Netherlands-based European subsidiary of Medtronic. It is focused on development and manufacturing of cardiac pacing technology. Once an independently operating Dutch medical company, it was acquired by Medtronic in 1986.[83] Vitatron pacemakers are interrogated and programmed by Medtronic Carelink Model 2090 Programmer for Medtronic and Vitatron Devices, using a separate interface.[84]

History of Vitatron
  • 1956: Vitatron founded
  • 1962: First Implantable pacemakers
  • 1981: Microprocessor-driven, software-based pacemaker (DPG1)
  • 1982: Rate Responsive pacemaker (TX1)
  • 1984: Quintech DDD with automatic upper rate behavior ("mode switch")
  • 1988: Daily Learn algorithm (Rhythmyx)
  • 1997: First upgradeable pacemaker system with dedicated AF diagnostics, rate and rhythm control therapy.
  • 2003: Vitatron goes digital: 1st Vitatron C-Series, the world's first fully digital pacemaker.[85]
  • 2004: 2nd Vitatron C-Series, digital, fast pacemaker.
  • 2004: Vitatron T-Series: The full picture, digital pacemaker system.
  • 2005: Vitatron C-Series, A3 models, a new top line range of digital pacemakers for bradycardic patients.

See also


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External links

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