Whistleblower Case Sheds Light On Medical Device Corruption
Medical device company Arthrex was in the news recently after they paid a $16 million fine to the federal government under The False Claims Act. The False Claims Act prosecutes medical companies, doctors, and health care service providers for unlawfully bilking public insurance like Medicaid and Medicare of billions annually. But the problem has become greater than mere insurance fraud. Today, medical device companies are paying doctors to use only their products. Sometimes, this happens even in cases where a patient does not need such elaborate hardware. This means that cronyism and greed coming from within the health care industry is resulting in an unprecedented number of medical malpractice lawsuits that allege that patients are being upsold medical services that they don’t need, the same thing you’re afraid your mechanic is going to do when you bring your car in.
Both Arthrex and a doctor who is accused of receiving kickbacks have characterized the allegations as untrue.
What’s legal and what isn’t?
Kickback schemes in the health care industry are a major problem and often compromise patient care. While these companies are right to market their products as aggressively as they can, they cannot pay doctors to use their products when another product may be as good and cheaper or simply better than the one they are recommending. Worse still, since doctors receive kickbacks for using their products, the doctors may be overprescribing the remedy for patients who don’t really need it. These payments made to doctors from medical device companies often take the form of exorbitant consulting fees. The government claims these consulting fees are really kickback payments. Essentially, medical device companies do everything in their power to hide the financial reason for disbursing payments to doctors. Such schemes involve the joining of exclusive medical societies or boards. Device makers claim these payments are necessary to help refine their products and make better products for the public.
In many cases, the work is legal. Doctors do consult with medical firms to improve product safety and utility. That leaves federal authorities attempting to determine what work was done and whether or not the work was paid at a fair market value.
This is definitely not legal
Among the serious allegations made against device makers and doctors, one whistleblower complaint says that a particular device maker paid off doctors to keep their mouths shut concerning serious problems with their technology. This turned into a whistleblower case. Surgeons reported that some of their patients had to undergo second operations to repair faulty components in the device. One Maryland doctor is now facing 14 medical malpractice lawsuits all related to faulty devices that he installed after taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees.
Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have been injured due to a faulty medical device, you may be able to file a lawsuit against both the device maker and the doctor. Call The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how our Tampa personal injury attorneys can hold negligent parties accountable for your injuries.