Big Pharma Corps Fined $48.5 Million for Paying Doctors Commission

Big Pharma Corps Fined $48.5 Million for Paying Doctors Commission
Science & Medicine

Has your doctor recommended blood work for you? As a recently surfaced Big Pharma punishment shows, it might be totally unnecessary and part of a larger fraud case. Two companies, Richmond, VA-based Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc (HDL) will pay $47 million to settle a fraud dispute, and Alameda, CA-based Singulex Inc. will pay $1.5 million in fines along with them.

So what did HDL and Singulex do? They paid doctors a commission for referring patients to them for blood work – even when it wasn’t necessary for diagnostics or other reasons.

According to the lawsuit brought against the companies, doctors were paid between $10 and $17 per patient for doctors to request that they have their blood taken. In order to avoid paying even larger fees, both companies have agreed to settle out of court.

Whistleblower complaints were filed by several individuals under False Claims Act including three from South Carolina residents. The whistleblowers will be allowed a portion of the funds collected from the companies. Over $23.9 billion has been recovered since January 2009 under the False Claims Act.

These and other fraud cases seem to have become the norm. From Merck’s fraudulent claims regarding MMR vaccines to GlaxoSmithKline’s fraudulently advertising antidepressants, Big Pharma will pay any amount to keep the truth about their business practices under wraps.

Unfortunately, these occurrences make up a large issue. The straining medical system in the United States wastes a whopping 750 billion dollars per year, according to a major report by the highly revered Institute of Medicine that was heavily ignored and washed over after it was released three years ago.

The report highlights how:

  • More than $75 billion is wasted in straight up fraud
  • A total of $55 billion or more is lost due to lack of preventative education and opportunity.
  • More than $190 is blown on unnecessary paperwork and administrative costs.
  • A plentiful $210 billion is spent on what has been deemed ‘unnecessary services,’ as in repeating tests over and over for really no reason.

I think it’s time we crack down and rewire a clearly flawed medical system, don’t you?