Five makers of medical implant devices have reached agreements with the U.S. government to resolve fraud concerns over industry practices, with four companies paying a total of $310 million, federal prosecutors said.
The agreements were reached by London-based Smith & Nephew; Stryker Corp., Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Biomet Orthopedics, DePuy Orthopaedics and Zimmer Holdings, all in Warsaw, Ind.
The five companies account for nearly 95% of the market in hip and knee implants, prosecutors said.
Biomet will pay $26.9 million; DePuy, $84.7 million; Smith & Nephew, $28.9 million; Stryker, which will not be paying any money, has agreed to be monitored; and Zimmer will pay $169.5 million and be monitored by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The Justice Department began investigating the industry in 2005 regarding concerns that companies may have paid kickbacks to orthopedic surgeons in return for favoring their products. In July 2006, another medical-device maker, Medtronic, agreed to pay $40 million to settle civil allegations that it paid kickbacks to doctors. (See In Other News item below.)
Biomet was acquired Tuesday for $11.4 billion by a consortium of private-equity firms and ceased trading on the Nasdaq exchange. DePuy is a unit of healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. -- by the Associated Press
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