Two US cardiac biomarker labs received fines which amounted to $48. 5 million for bribing doctors to provide blood samples for unnecessary testing.
The companies are accused of collaborating with Blue Wave Healthcare consultants to offer money to doctors who recommended unnecessary tests. According to the United States Department of Justice both medical labs were charged under False Claims Act.
The cardiovascular disease screening labs are HDL (Health Diagnostics Laboratory) which has to pay the sum of $47 million and Singulex which has to pay $1.5 million. The two companies agreed to pain the fines and to settle the civil allegations filed by the Justice Department according to which they bribed doctors for patient blood samples and billed Medicare for unnecessary medical testing. The doctors received $10 to $17 as bribe for each patient they directed to medical labs for blood testing.
HDL is assumed to have made hundreds of millions from this unlawfulness. However the company claimed that the tests were in fact necessary for identifying heart disease and the charges are against the compensation for the costs of processing the blood.
Four whistleblowers brought legal action against Singulex and HDL according to the United state Division of Justice. According to the False Claim Act those belonging to the private sector can file lawsuit against firms in the interest of the US government. In return they will be offered a part of the proceeds obtained in the lawsuit. So the whistleblowers are seeking to be paid several shares of proceeds. According to the Department of Justice the payments have not been yet established.
The False Claim Act is also known under the name of the “Lincoln Act”, the “Informer’s Act” or the “Qui Tam statute” which comes from the Latin expression ‘”qui tam pro domino rege quam pro seipse”, meaning “he who sues for the king as for himself”.
According to the Department of Justice, over $23.9 billion has been recovered since January 2009, owing to the False Claims Act. In addition, more than $15.2 billion came from cases which involved fraud against government health care.
Image Source: Daily Mail