Maryland part of national pacemaker settlement

HealthMedical ResearchMedtronic IncorporatedDouglas F. Gansler

Maryland will get nearly $10,000 as part of a national settlement involving kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to implant pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators in patients, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced Thursday.

Medtronic Inc, the developer of the medical devices, settled with the federal government for $23.5 million.

Medtronic paid physicians who agreed to participate in clinical studies or registries involving their pacemakers and ICDs, according to the agreement. The doctors had to have used a new or previous implant of a Medtronic device to participate in the study.

Medtronic also handpicked certain physicians for the clinical studies and device registries so that they would use their product instead of a competitor's, according to the settlement.

The initital settlement was first announced in December when Medtronic said it makes no admission that any studies were improper or unlawful.

"Medtronic is happy to have this investigation behind us, so we can continue designing and executing clinical trials that generate evidence to improve patient care, outcomes, and cost effectiveness," Dr. Marshall Stanton, vice president of clinical research and reimbursement for the Cardiac and Vascular Group at Medtronic, said in a statement at the time.

A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units that included members from the Attorneys General offices in New York and Florida participated in the investigation and help to negotiate the settlement.

"This settlement sends the message that tampering with the delivery of medical services carries severe consequences," Gansler said in a statement. "Any company that attempts to boost its bottom line using underhanded tactics is asking for a similar outcome."

andrea.walker@baltsun.com

Twitter.com:ankwalker

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