St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) said Thursday it paid $16 million to end a government investigation determining whether the company paid doctors who put its heart device in their patients.
The payout ends a 5-year Department of Justice investigation connected to a whistle blower complaint that claimed the company paid kickbacks of up to $2,000 per patient to help market its products. The former St. Jude technician, Charles Donigian 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.
“The company maintains that its post-market studies and registries are legitimate clinical studies designed to gather important scientific data and St. Jude Medical does not admit liability or wrongdoing by entering into this agreement,” St. Jude Medical said in a statement. “The company entered into a settlement agreement to avoid the potential costs and risks associated with litigation. This settlement brings the previously reported post-market study investigation to a close.”
St. Jude in the middle of last year paid $3.7 million to settled a similar case in which it made illegal payments to hospitals in Kentucky and Ohio that used its heart products.