Medtronic closes allegations of paying setbacks to a neurosurgeon for using its products.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that Medtronic USA Inc. will pay $ 9 million to settle allegations it made to neurosurgeon Wilson Asfora, MD. The settlement terms include $ 8.1 million for False Claims Act violations that setbacks to Asfora of South Dakota to bribe him to agree to help market his products by telling them about his Patient used. The remaining $ 1.1 million settlement is related to allegations of violating the Open Payments program by submitting incorrect billing reports to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
“We expect physicians to make medical decisions based on what is best for their patients, not what is best for their bank accounts,” said Ron Parsons, US attorney for South Dakota District , adding, “The quality of health care is eroding – and patients and their families are suffering – as companies and doctors enter into such under-the-table schemes to create illegal financial incentives for increased use of medical devices.”
Photo by Emilio Takas on Unsplash
The DOJ investigation found that Medtronic purposely paid more than 100 sponsored events at an Asfora restaurant over a 9 year period to persuade Medtronic to use SynchroMed II implantable infusion pumps on its patients. Asfora reportedly requested the location and guest list for these events.
“Paying directly or indirectly for anything of value to initiate referral for items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and other federal health programs is a violation of anti-kickback law,” Parsons said.
The Open Payments program was designed to “promote transparency and accountability on the ground,” said Brenna E. Jenny, Assistant Attorney General for the US Department of Health and Chief Legal Officer of CMS. “CMS looks forward to another partnership with the Department of Justice to resolve allegations that manufacturers are circumventing their open payments obligations.”
A separate lawsuit filed by the US in November alleges Asfora also received kickback payments for using certain implants for spinal surgery.
“Setbacks undermine the integrity of federal health programs and increase taxpayer-borne costs,” added Jeffrey Bossert Clark, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s civil division. “The comparison shows the department’s” commitment to ensuring that medical device manufacturers do not use inappropriate financial relationships to influence physicians’ decision-making. “
As part of the resolution, Medtronic agreed to cooperate on further investigations, including any pending litigation related to kickback payments and other issues. The company issued a statement stating, “Medtronic has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve civil claims related to the actions of a small number of salespeople. The company will make a payment of $ 9.2 million to clarify the matter. Other than a small number of sales reps, the DOJ’s investigation did not reveal that Medtronic was aware of this alleged wrongdoing at the time it occurred. In investigating this behavior, which violated company policies, Medtronic took various corrective actions, including dismissal and other disciplinary action against those directly or marginally involved, and improved training. The settlement agreement does not contain any assumption of liability. Medtronic continues to strive to maintain the highest standards of ethical behavior and compliance with all applicable guidelines. “
Medtronic pays $ 9.2 million for kickbacks and false reports
Medtronic is paying over $ 9.2 million to resolve allegations of improper payments to the South Dakota neurosurgeon