Washington, D.C. Whistleblower Lawyers
The Anti-Kickback Statute (42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b) was established to protect patients by ensuring that all medical professionals make healthcare decisions based on their patients’ specific needs, not based on any influence from corporations who might profit from a diagnosis or prescription.
The healthcare companies that manufacture medical devices, prescription drugs, and other healthcare equipment obviously profit the more their products are used in medical treatment. When a manufacturer bribes a physician to use a certain drug or medical device that is covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or any other federally-funded medical program, they are in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and can be prosecuted.
Kickbacks in the Healthcare Industry
Besides monetary compensation, kickbacks can take the form of several other bribes, including:
- Paid contracts
- Free vacations
Doctors are the most common target of illegal kickbacks, since they have the authority to recommend or prescribe medical devices and drugs to patients. For example, a pharmaceutical company might offer a doctor a complementary vacation to Hawaii in exchange for prescribing their drug over another company’s.
Safe Harbor Under the Anti-Kickback Statute
The Anti-Kickback Statute does allow a “safe harbor” for legitimate arrangements between healthcare companies and doctors or hospitals. This can include renting space, leasing equipment, and other types of financial arrangements – as long as the terms and details of the arrangements are clearly documented, and compensation does not exceed fair market value. If these conditions are not met, or if the terms of the transaction are breached in order to allow for extra compensation, then the arrangement can be deemed an illegal kickback.
Becoming a Whistleblower Under the Anti-Kickback Statute
Ultimately, healthcare kickbacks steal important funding from those who need it and encourage healthcare providers to sacrifice their patients’ safety in favor of profits. If you have knowledge about any illegal kickbacks or invectives, you can initiate a whistleblower (“qui tam”) lawsuit under both the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act. If a manufacturer’s kickback scheme causes injury or illness due to substandard, unsafe, or unnecessary medical treatment, you may also be entitled to compensation for medical malpractice.
If you are interested bringing forward a qui tam action, please contact our experienced whistleblower attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegiel, P.C. today for a free case evaluation. Any sensitive information you discuss with us will be protected by attorney-client privilege.