Be Careful When Making Referrals to Avoid Allegations of Medical Kickbacks
In the course of patient care, doctors often have to refer their patients to other specialists, medical facilities, and service providers. Care should be taken that these referrals do not raise suspicion of a kickback scheme, especially if there is a more complex relationship between the doctor and the specialist/facility to which the patient is referred.
An example of a potential case of kickback fraud would be if a physician receives gifts from a medical device manufacturer for referring patients to the company’s particular medical devices. A Florida criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help doctors address these allegations.
Doctors that refer patients to any service provider that offers them any form of payment or assistance beyond regular business transactions may run into allegations that they are involved in a kickback scheme. Even free items or goods sold below regular cost may be considered as kickbacks if the providing company is looking for referrals in exchange.
Prescriptions Are Often The Center of Kickback Schemes
Pharmaceutical companies are one of the most common types of healthcare companies involved in kickback schemes. The prescription drug market is highly competitive, and some doctors may be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to prescribe and promote certain brands.
Recently, the Novartis pharmaceutical company was involved in a lawsuit claiming it paid doctors to prescribe its brand of medications over generic brands. Evidence in the case showed Novartis gave doctors lavish gifts, held exclusive dinner engagements, and paid for expensive vacations all in exchange for brand loyalty. Many pharmacists were also held accountable for switching patients’ drugs to Novartis-brand medications.
Doctors should be wary of accepting any sort of compensation for promotion of particular medications or pharmaceutical companies. These actions can often be seen as types of healthcare fraud, as the doctor is usually compelled or forced to promote a specific drug, treatment, or device. If accused of these actions, a Florida criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale should be consulted.
A Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale Can Fight Allegations of Medical Kickbacks
Robert Malove can help doctors, healthcare providers, medical facilities, and patients understand their rights when facing charges of healthcare fraud. Contact our office at 954-861-0384 to schedule a consultation with a Florida criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale regarding a case involving medical kickbacks or other allegations of fraud.