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Boston Scientific named in lawsuit

By Bloomberg News
July 15, 2009
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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - Boston Scientific Corp., Medtronic Inc., and five other companies promoted surgical devices for unapproved uses, cheating the federal Medicare program, a whistle-blower said in lawsuits unsealed in Houston.

Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific and its Guidant Corp. unit “initiated a coordinated nationwide sales campaign (including the use of illegal kickbacks and other improper means) to entice physicians and hospitals to use their products for off-label purposes,’’ a former saleswoman identified as Jane Doe said in a complaint made public Monday.

The plaintiff filed similar actions accusing companies including Medtronic, St. Jude Medical Inc., and Endoscopic Technologies Inc. of improperly marketing surgical ablation devices, used for lesions or scar tissue, for treatment of atrial fibrillation to increase sales.

The suits were filed under the federal False Claims Act on behalf of the government, alleging the marketing caused excessive Medicare reimbursements.

Endoscopic Technologies, based in Danville, Calif., agreed to pay the United States $1.4 million to settle the lawsuit filed against it, the Justice Department said yesterday.

The government hasn’t determined whether to join the suits against the other device makers.