Thursday, July 16, 2009

Suit Alleges Medical Device Makers Paid Doctors to Use Products

The Wall Street Journal reports today: "Former employees of certain medical-devicemakers allege in lawsuits unsealed in a Texas federal court that the companies paid kickbacks to heart surgeons to get the doctors to use their products to treat...atrial fibrillation." The suits "name at least four companies whose products are among those used in surgery to treat the heart condition," including "AtriCure Inc., Medtronic Inc., St. Jude Medical Inc., and Boston Scientific Corp." The companies are accused of taking part in a "'fraudulent marketing and inducement campaign,' involving kickbacks to doctors and hospitals," which "resulted in excessive charges to the Medicare insurance program." The "cases against Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and AtriCure" also allege that "these companies marketed surgical ablation equipment as a treatment for atrial fibrillation even though it was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to" treat that condition.

The AP reports, "The allegations against the companies, released Tuesday in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Texas, were made by a former Boston Scientific employee who was not named in the documents."

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