Boston Scientific Corp. has already paid $296 million in criminal settlements and at least $234 million in personal-injury claims for selling defective internal defibrillators, but federal officials filed a lawsuit seeking further penalties for defrauding Medicare. The government's False Claims Act complaint does not spell out what the Justice Department believes the damages are in the case, but the whistle-blower that filed the original lawsuit estimated the damages at
$726 million. Boston Scientific—which in 2006 acquired Arden Hills, Minn.-based Guidant, maker of the three lines of defective devices between 2002 and 2005—said it was disappointed in the government's latest action. “However, the company believes that the ultimate resolution of this matter should not have a significant financial impact,” the company said in a news release. The government says executives at Guidant knowingly sold three defective models of pacemakers between 2002 and 2005, choosing to ship their remaining stock and downplay safety concerns instead of reporting the problems to the Food and Drug Administration. Company officials notified the FDA that its Ventak Prizm 2, Renewal 1, and Renewal 2 internally implantable defibrillators were defective only after the New York Times published a front-page article that said one device was involved in the death of a 21-year-old man.