Federal prosecutors in Sacramento have negotiated a $9.98 million settlement with Medtronic Inc. The medical-device company improperly paid doctors to implant the company’s pacemakers and defibrillators. The settlement, announced by U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, stems from a five-year-old lawsuit filed by a former Medtronic employee. The U.S. Justice Department eventually took over the case. The employee, Adolfo Schroeder, will receive $1.7 million of the settlement under the whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act. The settlement covers 24 states and the District of Columbia.
Medtronic induced doctors to use its products by paying them to speak at events, giving them tickets to sporting events and developing marketing plans for them at no charge. “Improper financial incentives have the potential to compromise physician medical judgment,” said Stuart Delery, assistant attorney general, in a prepared statement.
Medtronic paid $130 million in 2007 to settle consumer lawsuits alleging defects in its defibrillators. The company agreed to another $268 million settlement in 2010 over allegations that faulty defibrillators caused the deaths of 13 patients.
Sources: Sacbee.com and Bloomberg News
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