Racketeering Is Not A Tennis Term
In the medical device and pharmaceutical promotion industry, there is an obscure term called “key opinion leader.” Generally, these are physicians who can influence the products and procedures used by other practitioners.
These “influencers” write in medical journals, give lectures and publish peer-reviewed manuscripts. They use their credentials and experience to promote and/or advocate for certain brands, drugs and treatment protocols.
Sounds harmless, almost academic and scientific in nature, right? Well…Humana doesn’t think so.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Joseph Walker explains how Humana, Inc., is suing medical device maker Medtronic, Inc., under federal racketeering statutes. Humana alleges that Medtronic conspired with and paid to certain physicians over $200 Million (i.e. the key opinion leaders) to “promote unapproved uses of its (Medtronic) bone-growth drug.” Under this RICO claim, Humana asserts that Medtronic concealed this doctor compensation and is guilty of fraud and improperly influencing physicians to endorse a particular drug.
Medtronic denies the allegations and explains the $210 Million in hidden payments was merely for routine consulting and purchasing of normal intellectual property rights. That will string a lot of rackets!
Who’s influencing your medical cost increases?
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