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Dozens of device companies implicated in $1.2bn scam, say US prosecutors

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1785 (Published 15 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1785
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

In what US authorities are calling one of the largest healthcare frauds in history, 130 medical device makers have seen their Medicare payments suspended, suspected of being willing participants in a complex kickback scheme that saw hundreds of thousands of patients sold medically unnecessary back, shoulder, wrist, and knee braces at US taxpayers’ expense.

Three physicians and the senior executives of five telemedicine companies were among 24 people charged as a result of Operation Brace Yourself, a collaboration between the FBI and investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services. Most of the others accused are owners of medical device companies.

The scam allegedly began, prosecutors said, with international call centres in the Philippines and Latin America that recruited US …

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