On May 13, 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that C.R. Bard Inc. agreed to pay the United States $48.26 million to resolve allegations that Bard knowingly caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare in violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). Bard is a corporation based out of New Jersey which develops, manufactures, and markets medical products. The claims that purportedly violated the FCA were for brachytherapy seeds used to treat prostate cancer.
The government alleged that from 1998 to 2006, Bard delivered illegal remuneration in the form of grants, rebates, fees, marketing assistance, and/or free medical equipment to customers and physicians to induce them to purchase Bard's brachytherapy seeds, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute. The government argued that the hospital bills submitted to Medicare for these seeds were rendered false due to Bard's illegal kickback activity. The government alleged that Bard was liable for causing the submission of those false claims.
This settlement also resolves a lawsuit filed by Julie Darity, a former manager at Bard. Darity brought her claim under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to bring suits for false claims on behalf of the United States and share in the recovery obtained by the government. The former manager will receive $10,134,600 as her share of the civil settlement.
Furthermore, Bard has agreed to pay an additional $2.2 million and to take several remedial steps to enhance its corporate compliance program to prevent similar illegal actions in the future. For example, Bard has agreed to refine its Code of Conduct and other written policies to further promote Bard's commitment to full compliance with all Federal health care program requirements.
Wachler & Associates healthcare attorneys regularly counsel providers in proactively addressing potential kickback violations and defending providers against government allegations. If you or your healthcare entity need assistance in developing an effective compliance plan, or assistance in Medicare, Medicaid or third party payor audit defense, please contact our experienced healthcare attorneys at 248-544-0888.