GE Healthcare Inc. pays feds $30 million

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Dec 30, 2011

DETROIT (Legal Newsline) - GE Healthcare Inc. has paid $30 million plus interest to resolve allegations that Amersham Health Inc., a 2004 company acquisition, violated the False Claims Act by causing Medicare to overpay for Myoview, a radiopharmaceutical.

Nuclear pharmacies mix Myoview, which is distributed in multi-dose vials of powder, with a radioactive agent to prepare individual doses that are injected into patients as part of the cardiac imaging procedures.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, certain Medicare payment rates for Myoview are derived from, in part, the number of doses available. The federal government alleged that Amersham Health provided false or misleading information to Medicare regarding the number of doses available from vials. This led to Medicare overpayments.

"It's important for drug manufacturers to provide accurate pricing information to Medicare so that taxpayers aren't overcharged for medicines purchased with their dollars," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division. "As this case demonstrates, we remain committed to ensuring that Medicare funds are expended efficiently and appropriately."

The allegations arise from a whistleblower lawsuit, in which the plaintiff, James Wagel, will receive $5.1 million from the government's recovery.

Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said, "Drug companies should be aware that we are scrutinizing records to detect all forms of health care fraud. We hope that vigorous civil and criminal enforcement will deter companies from defrauding taxpayers in the future."

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