Genzyme to pay $22M to resolve False Claims Act lawsuit

By Bryan Cohen | Mar 6, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a $22.28 million multi-state and federal settlement on Tuesday with a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company that allegedly caused hospitals to submit false Medicaid claims.

Genzyme Corp., a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that was acquired by Sanofi-Aventis SA in April 2011, allegedly marketed and caused false claims to be submitted to state and federal healthcare programs for using a "slurry" version of its Seprafilm adhesion barrier.

Seprafilm is a thin film meant to reduce adhesions following surgery by creating a barrier between organs and abdominal tissue. While the product is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in open abdominal surgery, it is not approved for laparoscopic surgery.

Genzyme sales representatives allegedly taught doctors and other staff to prepare Seprafilm for use in laparoscopic surgery by mixing small pieces of the film with saline. As a result of the alleged conduct, Genzyme knowingly caused hospitals and other Seprafilm buyers to submit false and fraudulent claims to federal healthcare programs for uses of the product that were not reimbursable.

The settlement resulted from whistleblower lawsuits filed against Genzyme in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act and similar state false claims statutes allow private citizens with knowledge of false claims to bring civil actions on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery.

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