http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nj/press/files/pdffiles/hips0927.rel.pdfOur new site is up and running. Currently looking at a number of false claims issues. I am getting very interested in medical device sales and installation practices. It seems to me that the sales pressure may lead to unnecessary implantation of medical devices. Tens of thousands of dollars are at stake in each operation and billions nationally as medical device manufacturers vie for your doctor's business. It erodesour trust of our physicians and surgeons when they are under pressure from their hospitals and medical groups to install expensive devices in our bodies. Drug sales can build similar pressures by the way. Some states have recently examined sales practices and are recognizing the conflicts of interest that can be created when physician education, junkets, research is sponsored by companies interested in selling their products. Although these activities are supposed to be delinked from sales, it appears that the opposite is occuring.
Kickbacks in exchange for implants? From a recent U.S. DOJ Press Release
NEWARK - Five companies that account for nearly 95 percent of the lucrative market in hip and knee surgical implants have avoided criminal prosecution over financial
inducements paid to surgeons to use their products by agreeing to new corporate
compliance procedures and federal monitoring under 18-month agreements with the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced today.
Zimmer, Inc., Depuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Biomet Inc., and Smith & Nephew, Inc., have
executed Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs), which will expire in 18 months if they meet all of their respective reform requirements. Criminal Complaints were also filed today against those four companies, charging them with conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute. Those Complaints will be dismissed at the conclusion of the DPAs if the companies comply with their terms.:
The criminal Complaints accuse the four companies of using consulting agreements with orthopedic surgeons as inducements to use a particular company's artificial hip and knee reconstruction and replacement products. The investigation revealed that this was a common practice by the companies from at least 2002 through 2006. Surgeons who had agreements with the companies were typically paid tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for consulting contracts and were often lavished with trips and other expensive perquisites.