by Ben Vernia | June 9th, 2010
In a June 9 press release, the Department of Justice announced that Cochlear Americas, a Colorado-based cochlear implant manufacturer (and American subsidiary of Australia’s Cochlear Ltd.), had agreed to pay $880,000 to settle claims that it paid kickbacks to healthcare providers. According to the press release:
The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought by a whistleblower, Brenda March, in 2004. The lawsuit, filed in the District of Colorado, alleged that Cochlear Americas violated the Anti-kickback Act and the False Claims Act by paying various forms of illegal remuneration to physicians who prescribed the use of the Cochlear-manufactured devices for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
The United States intervened in the lawsuit in January 2007, and then shortly thereafter, moved to stay the suit, while the United States pursued an administrative civil monetary penalties investigation against Cochlear. The settlement announced today resolves that administrative matter as well as the lawsuit initiated by the whistleblower.
The whistleblower, Brenda March, will receive $176,000 (a 20% share) of the settlement.