The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on January 20 that DePuy Synthes, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay $9.75 million to resolve allegations that it entered into a kickback scheme with an unnamed Massachusetts orthopedic surgeon. DePuy admitted that from 2013 to 2018, it gave the surgeon instruments and implants worth over $100,000 to induce him to use more of the company’s products during procedures. This violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute made the Medicare claims submitted by the surgeon “false claims.”
An FBI agent quoted in DOJ’s press release said, “Today’s settlement makes it crystal clear that it is illegal for medical device companies to provide physicians with free medical products to win business and boost their bottom line through illegal kickback schemes.”
The settlement stemmed from a lawsuit originally filed under the False Claims Act by a former sales representative for DePuy. The whistleblower will receive approximately $1.37 million out of the settlement.
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