Plaintiff Kevin Colquitt, a former rep for Abbott’s Guidant division, sued Abbott, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) in 2006, claiming that they marketed the use of biliary stents to treat peripheral artery disease. (The magistrate overseeing the lawsuit, Judge Barbara Lynn of the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, later let J&J and Boston Scientific off the hook.)
Abbott acquired Guidant’s stents business in 2006 as part of Guidant’s acquisition by Boston Scientific. Colquitt’s qui tam lawsuit alleges that Abbott defrauded Medicare when it filed claims covering the use of biliary stents in peripheral interventions.
In denying the allegations, Abbott disputes whether any doctor ever used its guidelines for submitting reimbursement claims, citing a slew of other sources for advice on submitting claims for vascular procedures using biliary stents. Abbott also argues that an expert witness called by Colquitt said she didn’t know of anyone who relied on the company’s coding guidelines.
In January 2014, Abbott paid nearly $5.5 million, but admitted no wrongdoing, to settle a class-action lawsuit that made similar allegations.