Abbott pays $5M to settle kickback charges

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 - Gavel and stethoscope

Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay more than $5 million in a settlement over an alleged kickback scheme involving its carotid, biliary and peripheral vascular products. 

Abbott had been charged in a whistleblower lawsuit of giving physicians paid assignments, either  directly or through third-party continuing education providers, with an expectation that they would recommend or facilitate the purchase of Abbott products by their affiliated hospitals. The assignments included teaching, speaking and physician consultant arrangements, according to a motion filed in the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tenn.   

The settlement called for Abbott to pay $5.48 million to resolve allegations filed in 2009 by former Abbott employees Steven Peters and Douglas Gray under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act. Peters and Gray will receive a payment of slightly more than $1 million. 

The Abbott Park, Ill.-based company denied the allegations or any wrongdoing. In court documents it said the settlement was reached to avoid “the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience and expense of protracted litigation.”

Abbott also agreed to cooperate in investigations of people and entities not released through the settlement.