Medtronic Pays $23.5 Million to End Government False Claims Investigation
Mercury News reports that Medtronic, Inc. has agreed to pay $23.5 million to the U.S. Justice Department to settle claims that the company paid kickbacks to doctors to implant its pacemakers and defibrillators.
The Justice Department alleged that Medtronic paid illegal kickbacks to doctors by filtering money through two post-market studies and two device registries which required each patient to have a Medtronic device implant. Medtronic allegedly “paid doctors a fee ranging from about $1,000 to $2,000 per patient” enrolled in these studies and registries. Because of the financial incentive of being able to enroll their patients in these studies and registries, physicians choosing pacemakers and defibrillators for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries were allegedly more likely to choose to use Medtronic medical products.
The Daily Journal reports that Benjamin Wagner, U.S. attorney for California’s Eastern District, stated, “Today’s settlement highlights one of the key purposes of the Anti-Kickback law – to ensure that judgement exercised by health care providers in treating Medicare and Medicaid patients is not influenced by unlawful payments.”
Medtronic admits no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.