Federal prosecutors yesterday said Biotronik agreed to pony up $4.9 million, but admitted no wrongdoing, to settle allegations that it ran a kickbacks scheme to induce physicians to use its cardiac rhythm management devices.
The allegations, made in a qui tam lawsuit filed by former Biotronik employee Brian Sant, include charges that the company paid doctors in Nevada and Arizona to either continue to use or to convert to using Biotronik pacemakers, defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, according to a press release.
The alleged inducements included "repeated meals at expensive restaurants" and "inflated payments for membership on a physician advisory board," prosecutors said. Sant is in line to receive about $840,000 from the settlement, according to the release.
"Today’s resolution of claims underscores 1 of the key purposes of the Anti-Kickback law – to ensure that the judgment exercised by health care providers in treating Medicare and Medicaid patients is not influenced by illegal payments," U.S. attorney Benjamin Wagner of the Eastern District for California said in prepared remarks.
Since January 2009, the U.S. Justice Dept. has recovered more than $23 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $14.8 billion recovered in cases involving fraud against federal healthcare programs, according to the release.