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Blackstone Medical Caught “Entertaining” Physicians in Exchange for Business

Posted  11/13/12
By Marlene Koury Orthofix International NV has agreed to pay $30 million to settle allegations that its subsidiary, Blackstone Medical Inc., ran a seven year long kickback scheme ranging from sham consulting agreements to providing physicians with adult “entertainment” to induce them into ordering their products.  Click here to see Department of Justice press release and here for the complaint. Blackstone...

Fudging the Studies -- Senate Report Links Medtronic to Latest Case of Ghostwriting Medical Journal Articles

Posted  11/9/12
By Gordon Schnell  In a scathing report it recently released, the Senate Finance Committee charged medical device manufacturer Medtronic, Inc. with engaging in some fairly dastardly deeds to promote its once top-selling bone growth product called InFuse.  The alleged misconduct centers around the company paying off doctors to author medical journal pieces that downplayed or downright ignored serious risks and...

Fixing a Broken System -- The Institute of Medicine's Groundbreaking Report on Runaway Waste in American Healthcare

Posted  10/25/12
By Gordon Schnell There is a lot of chatter these days about trillion dollar deficits and multi-point plans to get the economy back in shape.  President Obama and Governor Romney stick to their respective talking points about their opponent's critical failings and how they will do things better.  The divisions that separate these candidates and their followers, and the country as a whole, have not been this...

CVS Sub Caught Duping Consumers in Prescription Drug Purchases

Posted  10/22/12
By Marlene Koury In one of the first False Claims Act settlements involving Medicare's "Part D" prescription drug program, CVS Caremark subsidiary, RxAmerica, agreed to pony up $5.25 million to resolve charges that it submitted false pricing information to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  This is the government body that oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  It also makes available the...

Deducting the Cost of Fraud -- The Widespread Treatment of Government Settlements as a Mere Business Expense

Posted  10/17/12
By Gordon Schnell With its $9 billion take, it has been a record year for the government in terms of its recoveries under the False Claims Act.  See Banner Year for Whistleblowers . . . .  There was the $3 billion settlement with GlaxoSmithKline over its marketing misdeeds with Paxil and Wellbutrin and its failure to report safety data for Avandia.  See Big Pharma Strikes Again . . .   There was the $1.5...

The Fraud Behind the Fraud of Off-Label Drug Marketing

Posted  10/5/12
By Gordon Schnell It has been one of the most common means for drug companies to get around what can be the very rigorous and time-consuming process of securing FDA approval for selling drugs.  That is, taking drugs that the FDA has approved as safe and effective for one particular use and marketing them to the medical community and the public for an entirely different set of uses.  This so-called off-label...

What is Going On With Big Pharma?

Posted  09/13/12
By Gordon Schnell With GlaxoSmithKline’s recent blockbuster $3 billion settlement with the Department of Justice -- the largest health care fraud penalty on record -- you have to wonder what is going on in the world of Big Pharma these days.  This is an industry that constantly complains of being misunderstood, underappreciated and unfairly maligned.  And there is some legitimacy to their lament.  Afterall,...

Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal Woes Roll On

Posted  09/13/12
By Jason Enzler The hits keep coming for Johnson & Johnson.  On August 30, several state attorneys general announced that they have agreed to a $181 million settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a J & J subsidiary, regarding charges that the company was illegally promoting its antipsychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega.  Click here for a press release from New York.  The settlement, involving 36 states and the...

The Government's New Public-Private Partnership in Tackling Healthcare Fraud – Seeking Prevention Over Punishment

Posted  08/16/12
By Marlene Koury The government has done a good job of late in recovering billions of dollars of fines from a host of companies big and small for committing various acts of healthcare fraud.  The recoveries so far for this year alone have been record-setting, on their way to crossing the $10 billion mark.  And this number is sure to grow even higher as the Obama Administration continues to ramp up its efforts to...

Partnering With Former Fraudsters and Conflicted Parties to Root Out Health Care Fraud -- Is the Government Letting the Fox Guard the Hen House?

Posted  08/1/12
By Marlene Koury The government announced last week that it would be partnering with Amerigroup in its new public-private partnership to prevent health care fraud.  If “Amerigroup” and “fraud” in the same sentence sound all too familiar, it is not because of the company's track record in fighting fraud.  Rather, it is likely because Amerigroup paid $225 million in 2008 to resolve claims that it defrauded...
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