Smith & Nephew settles kickback charges

Orthopedic device maker Smith & Nephew has become the latest of a group of orthopedic device makers to settle kickback charges. The company agreed to pay $29 million to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey to settle charges that it engaged in sham consulting contracts with doctors. Smith & Nephew is one of four companies targeted by the investigation; others include Zimmer Inc., DePuy Orthopedics and Biomet, all of which make artificial hip and knee construction and replacement products.

All four of the companies have been accused of setting up consulting agreements with orthopedic surgeons as a method of inducing them to use the given company's devices. The surgeons were given not only tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, but also rich perks like luxurious trips. Collectively, the companies have agreed to pay $311 million to settle violations of the anti-kickback statute and civil federal False Claims Act.

To find out more about the settlement:
- read this Memphis Business Journal article

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