Bayer HealthCare will pay the U.S. government $97.5 million to settle allegations of what the Justice Department calls a cash-for-patient scheme, in which the companys Tarrytown, N.Y.-based diabetes-care division allegedly paid suppliers to convert patients to Bayer products from ones made by Bayers competitors.
Bayer does not admit any liability in the settlement agreement, which names 11 direct-to-patient suppliers that the government alleges received kickbacks disguised as advertising and based on the number of patients who converted to Bayer glucose monitors, test strips and other items between 1998 and 2003. Liberty Medical Supply, Port St. Lucie, Fla., received more than $2.5 million in such payments, according to a Justice Department news release. The agreement, which includes a corporate integrity agreement with HHS inspector generals office in addition to the payment and interest, resolves false claims to Medicare allegedly generated by the scheme. -- by Gregg Blesch