C.R. Bard Inc., a medical device company based in New Jersey, has agreed to pay the United States $48.26 million to resolve claims that it knowingly caused false claims to be submitted to the Medicare. The claim alleged that the company paid off doctors and hospitals to induce them to prescribe brachytherapy seeds. Giving such kickbacks is a violation of the False Claims Act.
The settlement requires that Bard pay $48.26 million and it resolves claims relating to Bard’s sale of brachytherapy seeds, a form of radiation therapy, to hospitals. The United States alleged that from 1998 to 2006, Bard provided illegal remuneration to customers and physicians to induce them to purchase Bard’s seeds, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute. The illegal remuneration allegedly took the form of certain grants, guaranteed minimum rebates, conference fees, marketing assistance and/or free medical equipment that Bard paid to customers and/or physicians who used the seeds to perform treatment for prostate cancer. Hospitals ultimately submitted bills to Medicare for these seeds, which the government alleged were rendered false by Bard’s illegal kickback activity. The government alleged that Bard was liable under the False Claims Act for causing the submission of those false claims.
The U.S. government joined the suit filed by Julie Darity, a former contracts administration officer for Bard. The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia under the qui tam, or whistleblower provisions, of the False Claims Act. United States ex rel. Darity v. C.R. Bard, Inc., et al., Civ. Action No. 1:06-cv-0208-SCJ (N.D. Ga.). Under the False Claims Act, private citizens may bring suit for false claims on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained by the government. Darity will receive $10,134,600 as her share of the civil settlement.
Read the DOJ Press Release.