Medtronic settles whistleblower suit for $4.4M

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Medtronic will pay $4.4 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the company sold cardiac and surgical products made in China and Malaysia to federal agencies in violation of the Trade Agreements Act.

In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, whistleblowers Sam Cox, Meayna Phanthavong and Sonia Adams claimed that Medtronic, as a government contractor, sold anchoring sleeves used to secure cardiac leads, a tool accompanying wireless cardiac devices and spine surgery products to the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments and other federal agencies. The Trade Agreements Act requires contractors to certify that products purchased by the government come from the U.S. or trade agreement partnering countries. China and Malaysia are prohibited countries.

The settlement agreement applies to sales between 2007 and 2013 for the anchoring sleeves and spinal instruments and devices and between Jan. 1 and Sept 30, 2014 for a handheld patient assistant that is used with a wireless cardiac device.

Provisions in the False Claims Act allow private citizens to pursue lawsuits on behalf of the government. United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger and the law firm representing Cox, Phanthavong and Adams, announced the settlement on April 2.