U.S. attorneys in Boston said heart device maker Boston Scientific will pay $22 million to resolve allegations its Guidant division paid kickbacks to doctors to get them to use its heart devices.
Boston Scientific to pay $22 million in payment inquiry
The U.S. Department of Justice said Guidant paid physicians $1,000 to $1,500 each in 2003 and 2004 to participate in four studies, called RaCE, RaCE II, RaCE III and MERITS. It said the studies were designed to increase sales of pacemakers and defibrillators. Federal officials said the company targeted doctors who favored products made by other companies, hoping the payments would induce them to use Guidant devices more often. They said Guidant submitted claims for payment on the devices to Medicare.
Boston Scientific did not admit wrongdoing as part of the civil settlement. Under the agreement, its cardiac rhythm management division will have to publicly disclose payments to physicians on a Web site. Boston Scientific also entered into a corporate integrity agreement.
The studies were conducted after the Food and Drug Administration had cleared the products for sale. Post-approval studies are often used to further evaluate medical devices or compare their performance. Boston Scientific bought Guidant in 2006. The company is based in Natick, Mass.
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