Government, Abbott Laboratories reach $5.5M settlement over stents

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The Department of Justice and Abbott Laboratories agreed to a $5.48 million settlement on Dec. 27 related to allegations that physicians received kickbacks for pushing stents.

Former Abbott employees said the company knowingly paid physicians to have teaching assignments, speaking engagements and conferences with the expectation that physicians would arrange for hospitals to purchase carotid, biliary, and peripheral vascular stents. The deals violated the Anti-Kickback Act, the DOJ said.

“Physicians should make decisions regarding medical devices based on what is in the best interest of patients without being induced by payments from manufacturers competing for their business,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

An Abbott spokesman told Bloomberg BNA that the company was pleased to resolve the matter and “entered into the settlement agreement to avoid the uncertainty and expense of protracted litigation.”

Abbott settled for $1.5 billion with the government in 2012 over allegations it violated kickback laws through promotion of Depakote for off-label use for dementia patients.