Biomet Settles Kickbacks Whistleblower Lawsuit for $6 Million
Orthopedic giant Biomet, which recently settled a personal injury multidistrict litigation (MDL) alleging serious injuries and high failure rates for the company’s all-metal hip devices, has now settled a whistle-blower lawsuit with the Department of Justice in which the company admits no fault in kickback allegations.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act created the Open Payments Program (OPP) designed to make financial relationships between healthcare providers and manufacturers more transparent. The concern came from relationships between healthcare providers such as doctors or surgeons and medical manufacturing companies would bias providers’ decisions, and create a situation where patients would receive defective drugs or implants, and failures would not be reported often enough.
“Medical device companies must not use improper financial incentives to influence the decision to use their products,” said August Flentje, acting deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, in a statement cited in the article.
“This settlement demonstrates our resolve in ensuring that patients receive, and the government pays for, health care that is based on sound medical judgment, not compromised by kickbacks,” said Carmen Ortiz, U.S. attorney of the district of Massachusetts, in a statement cited in the article.
The whistleblower lawsuit claimed that between 2001 and 2008, Biomet bribed physician office staffers to convince them to use the all-metal hip devices and other faulty products.
“Kickbacks taint medical decision-making, cause overutilization of services, and lead to increased taxpayer and patient costs,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip Coyne of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “These improper inducements have no place in government health programs relied on by millions of Americans.”
The whistleblower case, which was filed by a former product manager of Biomet, Yu Yue, in New Jersey, was recently unsealed by the Department of Justice.
What is a Whistleblower Lawsuit?
“Qui Tam” are the first words of a Latin clause referring to the plaintiff as “one who sues as much for the state as for himself or herself.” These private citizens, known as “relators” or “whistleblowers,” relate information to the government and share in any money recovered.
It is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows a private citizen to file a suit, in the name of the U.S. Government, charging fraud by government contractors and other entities that receive or use government funds.
Common whistleblower actions include:
- Health care fraud, including Medicare and Medicaid fraud,
- defense contractor fraud, and
- other kinds of fraud
Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud. To bring a qui tam action under the statute, an individual must have personal knowledge and actual evidence of fraud. Successful qui tam claimants will be rewarded a portion of the money the government recovers.
Bolstered by amendments passed by Congress in 1986, the law has armed private citizens who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud with a weapon to prosecute government contractors and others who are defrauding the Government.
The Strom Law Firm Protects Whistleblowers in South Carolina
If you have first-hand knowledge of government fraud occurring at your place of employment or your doctor’s office, including Medicaid fraud, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help protect your rights. In order to help the government provide the best possible services, Medicare and Medicaid fraud must be reported as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexity of qui tam and whistleblower suits, and we offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today.803.252.4800