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Medtronic Agrees to Settlement for Kickbacks to Induce Pacemaker Implants


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that Wisconsin and other states joined the federal government in reaching an agreement in principle with medical technology and healthcare product manufacturer, Medtronic, Inc. to settle allegations that the company provided kickbacks to physicians in order to induce them to implant Medtronic pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (“ICDs”) in patients.


As a result, Medtronic will pay the state $12,719.32 as part of a total $28,605.87 allocable to Wisconsin Medicaid; the remainder will be paid to the federal government. Medicaid is the medical assistance program for the needy and disabled jointly funded by the state and federal governments.


“This settlement again shows our commitment to protect the integrity of assistance programs, as well as the taxpayer dollars that fund them,” said Van Hollen.


The settlement resolves allegations that between 2003 and 2011, Medtronic conducted post-market clinical studies and device registries that served as vehicles to pay kickbacks to physicians who participated in these studies and registries. The kickbacks induced physicians to implant Medtronic pacemakers and ICDs in patients. Specifically, Medtronic paid each physician who participated in a clinical study or registry a fee. In order to be eligible to participate in the study or registry, a new or previous implant of a Medtronic device was required.


Moreover, Medtronic hand-picked certain physicians for the clinical studies and device registries in order to either convert their business from a competitor's product or to persuade the physicians to continue using Medtronic products. Medtronic's conduct caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to Wisconsin and, in turn, financial harm.