Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Feds to Pursue Doctors Who Took Kickbacks

The New York Times reports, "Federal health officials and prosecutors, frustrated that they have been unable to stop illegal kickbacks to doctors from drug and device companies, are investigating doctors who take money for using these products." In the past, "prosecutors rarely pursued doctors because they believed that juries would sympathize with respected clinicians." In the near future, however, "officials plan to file civil and criminal charges against a number of surgeons who they say demanded profitable consulting agreements from device makers in exchange for using their products." According to the Times, this "move against doctors is part of a diverse campaign to curb industry marketing tactics that enrich doctors but increase healthcare costs and sometimes endanger patients. Taken together, the new measures are likely to transform the relationship between medicine and industry." Lewis Morris, chief counsel to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, said, "What we need to do is make examples of a couple of doctors so that their colleagues see that this isn't worth it."

Well, this should be interesting.

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