Indiana surgeon, Texas spinal device company pay $2.6 million to settle kickback allegations

by Ben Vernia | August 31st, 2014

On August 29, the Department of Justice announced that a surgeon and a spinal device company paid a combined $2.6 million to settle civil allegations that the company paid, and the doctor received kickbacks for the use of the company’s devices. According to DOJ’s press release:

Omni Surgical L.P., doing business as Spine 360, a manufacturer of devices used in spinal surgery, and Dr. Jamie Gottlieb, an Indiana spinal surgeon, have agreed to pay $2.6 million to the United States to settle allegations that Spine 360 paid illegal kickbacks to Gottlieb to induce him to use the company’s products. Spine 360 is based in Austin, Texas.

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The Anti-Kickback Statute restricts the financial relationships that medical device manufacturers may have with doctors who use or prescribe their products. It is intended to ensure that a physician’s medical judgment is not compromised by improper financial incentives and is instead based upon the best interests of the patient.

The settlement announced today involved payments that Spine 360 made between 2007 and 2009 to an entity controlled by Gottlieb. Although the payments were purportedly made pursuant to a series of intellectual property agreements, the United States contended that those agreements were shams, and that the payments were intended to compensate Gottlieb for using Spine 360 products in his surgeries.

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