May 28 (Reuters) - Medtronic Inc has agreed to pay $9.9 million to the United States to settle claims it used kickbacks to induce doctors to implant its pacemakers and defibrillators in patients.
The U.S. Department of Justice had accused Medtronic of inducing doctors to use its products by paying them to speak at conferences, developing marketing and business plans at no cost, and providing tickets to sports events.
“These sorts of improper financial incentives not only undermine the integrity of medical decisions, they also waste taxpayer funds and are unfair to competitors who are trying to play by the rules,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner in Sacramento, California, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Medtronic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The whistleblower case resolved claims under the federal False Claims Act against Minneapolis-based Medtronic, one of the world’s largest heart device makers.
It was originally brought by Adolfo Schroeder, who said he was a business development manager who joined Medtronic in May 2006. Schroeder will receive about $1.73 million in the settlement, the government said.
Medtronic reported net profit of about $3.07 billion for its fiscal year ended April 25.
The case is U.S. ex rel Schroeder v. Medtronic Inc, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, No. 09-00279.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown