Federal authorities have imposed fines on two US cardiac biomarker labs for bribing doctors to get patient referrals for their programs and for providing blood samples for unnecessary testing. The companies have been also accused for collaborating with Blue Wave Healthcare consultants and offering further incentives to doctors who recommend unnecessary tests. The United States Department of Justice reported that both medical labs have been charged under the False Claims Act.
One of the cardiovascular disease screening labs, HDL (Health Diagnostics Laboratory), has been ordered to pay $47 million and the other one, Singulex Inc., has to pay $1.5 million. Both the companies have agreed to pay the fines in order to settle the civil allegations filed by the Justice Department. As per the reports, bribes of $10 to $17 were given to the doctors for each referral. Through this unlawful act, HDL is believed to have earned hundreds of millions.
However, it should be noted that nothing has been proved yet and the settlements are in response to the allegations. HDL has clarified that the company has not agreed to pay because it was involved in any wrong doing or there have been any liabilities. The case has been filed by four whistleblowers. As per the announcement of the government, similar investigations are also going on against Berkeley Heartlab Inc. and Blue Wave HealthCare consultants.
The two companies will be paying the settlement amounts to Department of Health and Human Services in return for a corporate integrity agreement. The agreement, however, does not indicate that the companies can continue to operate without any check and balance. Procedures and reviews will be there for detecting and avoiding such malpractices in future.