“When medical device makers exert abuses of power or engage in unethical financial activities, they are defrauding tax payers and the government,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP.
Port Washington, NY (PRWEB) June 02, 2014
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has long been dedicated to protecting the rights of victims who have been injured by medical devices and who have been defrauded due to unethical behaviors on the part of device makers, reports that device maker, Medtronic Inc., just agreed to pay the United States government $9.9 million to settle claims brought in a whistleblower lawsuit. The settlement is meant to resolve allegations made under the False Claims Act that Medtronic engaged in activities, and utilized various payment types, meant to encourage physicians to implant Medtronic pacemakers and defibrillators in patients, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The case is United States ex rel. Schroeder v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 2:09-cv-0279 WBS EJB, Eastern District, California.
“Improper financial incentives have the potential to compromise physician medical judgment,” said Assistant Attorney General (AG) Stuart F. Delery of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This case demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to pursue medical device manufacturers that use improper financial relationships to influence physician decision-making,” AG Delery added.
Parker Waichman LLP comments that it is aware of unethical activities that are meant to drive medical device sales, placing the needs of patients secondary to profits, and is available to assist those individuals who have suffered injuries related to these behaviors. “These types of unethical, fraudulent actions need to be stopped so that people in need of medical care may make sound decisions based on unbiased, ethically presented information,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP.
The United States alleged that Medtronic caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid by use of a number of illegal kickback schemes meant to provoke physicians to implant Medtronic pacemakers and defibrillators into patients. United States ex rel. Schroeder v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 2:09-cv-0279 WBS EJB (E.D. Cal.). For example, Medtronic allegedly induced physicians to use its products by paying the physicians who were implanting the devices to speak at events coordinated for the purpose of driving referral business, by creating marketing and business plans for doctors at no cost to those doctors, and by providing physicians with sporting event tickets. The government also alleged that the device maker made these payments so that doctors would either continue to use Medtronic products or would convert their business to Medtronic and away from Medtronic competition.
Concurrent with the announcement, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner of the Eastern District of California said, “Decisions about devices used to treat cardiac rhythmic disease should be based on the best interests of the patient, not on whether the manufacturer is going to pay a kickback…. These sorts of improper financial incentives not only undermine the integrity of medical decisions, they also waste taxpayer funds and are unfair to competitors who are trying to play by the rules.”
The settlement originated with a whistleblower complaint that had been filed by a former Medtronic employee, Adolfo Schroeder. Schroeder will receive approximately $1.73 million of the settlement, which was reached through a collaboration involving the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (United States ex rel. Schroeder v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 2:09-cv-0279 WBS EJB, Eastern District, California)
“When medical device makers exert abuses of power or engage in unethical financial activities, they are defrauding tax payers and the government,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “Parker Waichman LLP supports whistleblower efforts to report illegal activities that may harm citizen and may defraud government programs and believes that whistleblowers play a crucial role in holding these parties responsible.”
“As this settlement indicates, health care executives who try to boost profits by paying kickbacks to doctors will instead pay the government for their improper conduct,” said Special Agent in Charge Ivan Negroni of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s San Francisco Office. “We will continue to work with the Department of Justice to root out illegal, wasteful business arrangements.”
Parker Waichman LLP offers free legal consultations to victims of injuries allegedly caused by medical devices and also offers free legal consultations to potential whistleblowers. If you or a loved one experienced injuries as a result of a potentially defective or inappropriately prescribed medical device or if you believe that your company is involved in illegal activities, please visit the Defective Medical Device page or the Whistleblower page at YourLawyer.com or call 1-8001-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).