Cardiovascular Systems agrees to pay $8 million to resolve kickback allegations

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Cardiovascular Systems agreed to pay $8 million to settle allegations that the company paid kickbacks to physicians to convince them to use its medical devices.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina announced the settlement with the Department of Justice on June 29.

“The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Cardiovascular Systems also entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General that requires the company “to engage in significant compliance efforts over the next five years, including engaging an independent review organization,” according to the release.

Travis Thams, a former Cardiovascular Systems employee, filed a civil complaint against the company in July 2013. The settlement resolves allegations stemming from that lawsuit.

The government alleged that Cardiovascular Systems developed and distributed marketing materials to promote physicians using its devices to perform atherectomies and coordinated meetings between utilizing physicians and referring physicians.

“Doctors are expected to provide medical advice and treatment options that benefit patients, not their own practice,” Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said in a news release. “A Company cannot reward physicians for using its medical devices over those of competitors. The type of kickback scheme alleged in this case compromises good medical care and can lead to inefficient use of limited healthcare resources. My office is committed to preventing medical device manufacturers from improperly influencing physicians’ medical judgment. We will thoroughly investigate any such allegations.”