Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The hip joint's connected to the pocketbook?

From The Star Ledger article:

For two years, federal prosecutors in New Jersey have been building a case that the nation's largest makers of artificial hips and knees defrauded the government and taxpayers by paying surgeons to use and promote their products, according to sources close to the probe.

The evidence includes statements from prominent doctors around the country who allegedly accepted lavish vacations, gifts and "consulting fees" as high as $200,000 a year from the implant makers for little or no work, said four attorneys who have been briefed on aspects of the case.

There is no allegation that the practice jeopardized patients or subjected them to substandard products or treatment. But the sources say prosecutors contend that the money had a sole purpose -- to buy surgeons' loyalty to specific products -- and that doctors often failed to reveal such a conflict to their patients. If true, such payments would violate the federal anti-kickback statutes that govern hospitals and health professionals who participate in Medicare.
Click here to read the entire article.

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