Medtronic has made the final payment in an $11.1 million settlement over allegations that it used kickbacks to promote the use of its cardiac rhythm products. According to a press release issued by the office of Eric Schneiderman, the U.S. Attorney General for New York, the company’s final payment of $362,362 will be split among the Medicaid programs in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
According to a press release, the final payment “concludes the investigation concerning Medtronic based on the allegations” brought by the whistleblower, the release says.
“Physicians should determine the best course of treatment for their patients based on sound medical judgment, not on any special treatment that they may receive from a manufacturer,” Schneiderman said in a prepared statement. “Such conduct puts patients at risk and unfairly impacts those companies that follow the law. My office will vigorously pursue health care companies that try to improperly influence health care professionals.”
According to Mass Device, the lawsuit was filed by in 2009 by a former business development manager who alleged that the company illegally used incentives to influence doctors to use its CRM devices. Allegedly, Medtronic paid physicians to speak at conferences, created free marketing and business plans, and even gave them free tickets to sporting events, restaurants and strip clubs.
The whistleblower will receive an estimated $1.7 million from the settlement, the U.S. Justice Department says.
In recent years, whistleblowers have played a vital role in catching fraud. Individuals can file a so-called qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government if they have knowledge of wrongdoing. If the case is successful, they are entitled to a portion of the settlement.
Medtronic paid $844,800 to settle another portion of the case in 2012. In May, the company agreed to pay $9.9 million a settle another portion with prosecutors in California, according to the office of Eric Schneiderman, the U.S. Attorney General for New York.