St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ) and the U.S. Justice Dept. remain in talks over the company’s alleged kickbacks to doctors, but a settlement may be within sight.
The case stems from a 2006 whistleblower lawsuit filed by former employee Charles Donigian that accused the company of offering kickbacks to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers in the form of travel and tickets to sporting events to influence them to use certain St. Jude products.
On Nov. 29, assistant U.S. attorney Donald Savery indicated in a conference before Judge Douglas Woodlock at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that the two parties could be close to a decision, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Justice Dept. first entered the lawsuit in a motion to intervene filed August 5. The U.S. claimed it had “good cause” to accuse the company of using its Aware, Assist, Housecall Plus and Act registry trials as fronts to deliver kickbacks to doctors in return for their use of its pacemakers and defibrillators. The lawsuit also alleges that St. Jude used the clinical trials to set up a structure to pay doctors for implanting its devices. The parties filed an extension for the settlement talks later that month.
Eric Dubelier, a partner with the law firm Reed Smith LLP representing St. Jude, said the company entered talks to avoid the ongoing costs and uncertainties litigation with the government precipitates, according to the WSJ.