US makers of joint replacements are fined for paying surgeons to use their devices

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 22 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1065
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

    Five US manufacturers of hip and knee replacements have settled with the federal government after being accused of paying orthopaedic surgeons to use their products. Four of the companies will pay $311m (£150m; €212m) in fines to the federal government.

    The companies have admitted paying many orthopaedic surgeons “consulting fees” to use their devices.

    The settlement was announced on 27 September by Christopher Christie, US Department of Justice attorney for northern New Jersey. When the Department of Justice was asked whether any action would be taken against the surgeons who accepted the payments, a spokesman would say only that the investigation was ongoing.

    Criminal complaints were filed against four of the companies, charging them with conspiring to violate federal laws against kickbacks (unlawful payments by companies to individuals to use the companies' products). The four companies are Zimmer, DePuy Orthopaedics, …

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