KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

DOJ Likely To Intervene In St. Jude Heart Device Kickback Lawsuit

The U.S. Department of Justice may intervene in a lawsuit against heart-device maker St. Jude Medical Inc. after allegations the company used medical studies to "pay kickbacks and boost product usage," The Wall Street Journal reports. "The U.S. Attorney's office in Boston launched an industry-wide probe nearly five years ago into whether makers of pacemakers and defibrillators were making improper payments to doctors. The government had filed a notice in federal court in December saying its investigation wasn't complete, and that it wasn't intervening in the former St. Jude worker's lawsuit at that time. In a motion filed in federal court Thursday, however, the government said it has since interviewed more witnesses and reviewed more documents, completed its probe and now 'has good cause to intervene.'" The lawsuit is being brought by a former worker who accuses St. Jude of paying kickbacks to doctors for prescribing certain products the device-maker made (Kamp and Loftus, 8/9).

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