Medtronic Settles Physician Kickback Case for $9.9M

Minneapolis.-based Medtronic has agreed to pay the government $9.9 million to settle allegations the company paid physicians kickbacks to induce them to implant pacemakers and defibrillators manufactured and sold by Medtronic, according to the Department of Justice.

The lawsuit against Medtronic was originally filed under the qui tam, or whistle-blower provision, of the False Claims Act by a former Medtronic employee.

The lawsuit alleged Medtronic caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid for reimbursement by inducing physicians to implant its medical devices by paying them illegal kickbacks, according to the report.

Decisions about devices "should be based on the best interests of the patient, not on whether the manufacturer is going to pay a kickback," said Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of California, in the news release. "These sorts of improper financial incentives not only undermine the integrity of medical decisions, they also waste taxpayer funds and are unfair to competitors who are trying to play by the rules."

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