Lens manufacturer Essilor pays over $16 million to settle kickback charges

by Ben Vernia | August 24th, 2022

On August 23, Texas-based Essilor (including three related companies) agreed to settle False Claims Act allegations brought by three whistleblowers in two separate qui tam suits, according to the Department of Justice. The company is also entering into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. According to DOJ’s press release:

Essilor International, Essilor of America Inc., Essilor Laboratories of America Inc. and Essilor Instruments USA (collectively, “Essilor”), headquartered in Dallas, have agreed to pay $16.4 million to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by causing claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid that resulted from violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute. 

Essilor manufactures, markets and distributes optical lenses and equipment used to produce optical lenses. The United States alleged that between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2016, Essilor knowingly and willfully offered or paid remuneration to eye care providers, such as optometrists and ophthalmologists, to induce those providers to order and purchase Essilor products for their patients, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute. The Anti‑Kickback Statute prohibits offering or paying anything of value to induce the referral of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other federally-funded programs. The statute is intended to ensure that medical providers’ judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives.

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The Government has not yet announced the share the three whistleblowers will receive of the settlement.

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