Kentucky AG sues nation’s largest dialysis company for deceptive marketing

Medicaid on paper and a stethoscope

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing the country’s largest dialysis provider, alleging the company defrauded Medicaid by billing the state for a product it knew was harmful.

According to an announcement from Beshear’s office, Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. promoted GranuFlo, a device used during dialysis procedures, even though the company knew it was associated with increased risk for heart attacks. He added that “millions of dollars” was improperly paid to Fresenius through the state’s Medicaid program given the health risks associated with GranuFlo.

Beshear further alleged that the company knew about the adverse events associated with the dialysis product as far back as 2010, but did little to communicate concerns to clinicians or independent clinics who purchased GranuFlo, which was recalled by the FDA in 2012.

“It is incomprehensible that a company would knowingly jeopardize a patient’s health or life just to make a profit,” Beshear said in the announcement. “These actions are unacceptable, and my office is determined to hold them accountable for their actions that took place in the more than 50 clinics across the state where Kentuckians were treated with GranuFlo.”

Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services singled out dialysis providers for steering patients towards Affordable Care Act plans to increase reimbursement, echoing claims filed by UnitedHealth against American Renal Associates Holdings. Last year, another national dialysis provider paid $450 million to resolve claims that it billed Medicare and Medicaid for large vials of medication that went unused.