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Feds question drug manufacturers on potential kickback violations

The federal government continues its crackdown on alleged illegal kickback violations with a recent investigation of drug manufacturers. The investigations focused on services to doctors including the provision of nurses and reimbursement assistance.

A recent publication in the Wall Street Journal notes federal investigations such as this along with whistleblower lawsuits have brought the use of services like these to the same level of scrutiny as providing medical professionals with fancy meals and trips in an alleged attempt to increase drug sales.

Why are these investigations different? Ultimately, the government has claimed these drug manufacturers are violating the federal anti-kickback statue that prohibits payments to medical professionals to induce drug prescriptions. The basic allegations are not new, but the evidence used to support the claims has changed.

These claims are show the evolution of the government to expand allegations of violations from the use of lavish meals or trips to the use of services and reimbursement assistance, such as donations to third-party charitable organizations that provide aid to patients or clinical education programs. One drug manufacturer is accused of a violation for the provision of nurses to train patients on the proper use of an injectable medication and aiding physicians in the paperwork required for Medicare reimbursement.

What is the impact of these investigations? Investigations by the federal government and whistleblower claims can lead to serious penalties. These penalties can include hefty fines and potential imprisonment, depending on the details of the claims.

These allegations can also have an immediate impact on the reputation of the drug manufacturer. This can result in a drop in the price of shares and other negative implications to business operations. Those facing such accusations can take proactive steps to mitigate the damage done by such allegations. An attorney experienced in Anti-Kickback Law violations can help.

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