Doc fined $12k for illegal kickbacks

A Washington judge ordered army cardiologist Dr. Jason Layne Davis to repay the sum of "every dinner, every bottle of wine and every other gratuity that [he] ever received" from cardiac implant maker Guidant Sales Corporation, a subsidiary of Boston Scientific.

According to reports, this amounts to more than $12,700 in fines and restitution Davis will pay following accusations that he became an "aggressive user and advocate" of the Guidant-manufactured heart-implant devices while receiving increasingly substantial payments and gifts from the company during his tenure as chief of the cardiology department at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wa.

While the same relationship cost Guidant $600,000 last year, the case represents a rare instance of the Justice Department prosecuting a doctor for taking money and gifts from a company, the Seattle Times reports. According to a joint investigation by The Washington Post and ProPublica, at least 15 drug and medical-device companies have paid $6.5 billion since 2008 to settle accusations of marketing fraud or kickbacks. However, none of the more than 75 doctors named as participants in those actions were sanctioned.

Although policies regarding industry ties vary in the private sector, military personnel are strictly banned from accepting gifts worth more than $20. "Military doctors must owe their allegiance to the soldiers and families they treat--not to drug companies or makers of medical devices," said Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney in Seattle, in a statement released as Davis' plea deal was announced.

Davis, who admitted to accepting $4,812 in payments for "training" from Guidant sales representatives who observed seven of Davis' surgeries, remains scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan. During sentencing, presiding Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura found that "no patient's health was compromised" as a result of the doctor's financial relationship with Guidant.

To learn more:
- read the article from the Seattle Times
- see the article from Cardiovascular Business
- check out the post from Mass Device