Orthopedic surgeons receiving kickbacks?

Could hip and knee doctors be receiving kickbacks from orthopedic device companies? According to the New York Times, a federal investigation on kickbacks in the orthopedic industry is pointing in the direction of doctors who "receive money as the [orthopedic device] companies' paid consultants." While, the article notes, no unnecessary surgeries have taken place and no mistreatment of patients has occurred, the kickbacks could be responsible for raising the overall cost of healthcare. DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and three other companies--Biomet, Smith & Nephew and Zimmer Holdings--all agreed to pay $310 million in fines to settle civil charges. Along with a fifth company--Stryker--those companies also had to disclose any payments made to doctors or medical groups, as well as compensation in the form of "plane tickets, lodging, food and gifts."

For more information:
- read the full New York Times article