The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that medical device company, Medtronic, had agreed to pay $9.9 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it paid kicbacks to physicians to induce them to implant the company’s pacemakers and defibrillators.
Specfically, the Government alleged that Medtronic paid implanting physicians to speak at events that were intended to increase referrals, developed marketing/business development plans for physicians free of charge, and provided tickets to sporting events. The Government alleged that these payments were made to the physicians to persuade them to continue using Medtronic products or to switch from competitors’ products to Medtronic’s.
The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits bribes, payments or rewards (directly or indirectly) – or the solicitation or offers of such remuneration – in connection with practically every aspect of health care delivery when any portion of those goods or services are paid for with federal dollars. Compliance with the provisions of the Anti-Kickback Statute is a condition of payment within Medicare and Medicaid, and other federally-funded programs. Violations of the statute can create liability under the False Claims Act when persons or entities submit, or cause others to submit, claims for payment to Medicare or Medicaid with knowledge that the underlying transactions were in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute prohibitions.
The Medtronic case was originally brought by a whistleblower, a former employee of Medtronic. According to DOJ, the whistleblower will receive approximately $1.73 million as a result of the settlement.
The DOJ press release can found here: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/May/14-civ-571.html
If you have a medical device fraud case, please contact the Rabon Law Firm for a free consultation.