Bayer, the German medical conglomerate, will pay $97.5 million to settle federal government claims that it paid kickbacks to medical suppliers to boost sales of its diabetes products. The Justice Department says that the settlement resolves an investigation into whether Bayer bribed 11 diabetic suppliers into switching patients to its products from competitors. Bayer Healthcare makes electronic monitors and testing strips used to measure blood sugar levels in Tarrytown, New York. According to the Justice Department, Bayer paid Liberty Medical Supply Inc., one of the largest diabetic suppliers, about $2.5 million to convert patients to Bayer supplies between 1998 and 2002. Based in St. Lucie, Florida, Liberty Medical is known for its heavy-rotation television advertising.
The Justice Department also alleged Bayer paid $375,000 in kickbacks to ten other diabetes equipment companies. Each of the 11 companies involved supplied equipment to patients enrolled in Medicare, the government’s health care plan for seniors. The settlement also resolves false claims filed by those companies between 1998 through 2007. Gregory Katsas, an assistant Attorney General with the Justice Department, stated:
If medical device manufacturers want to serve Medicare beneficiaries they must follow the law.
Corporations have been able to cheat the federal and state governments with almost complete immunity over the years and with no fear of being caught. Even when they were caught, the offending corporation know they could simply pay a fine and “keep on trucking.” It’s past time for the government to bring these corporate wrongdoers to justice and put a stop to the “lying, cheating and stealing” that has become a way of life for many in Corporate America in their dealings with federal programs.
Source: Associated Press
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