U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana issued the following announcement on Oct. 9.
The Justice Department announced today that UTC Laboratories, Inc. (RenRX) has agreed to pay $41.6 million, and its three principals, Tarun Jolly, M.D., Patrick Ridgeway, and Barry Griffith, have agreed to pay $1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks in exchange for laboratory referrals for pharmacogenetic testing and for furnishing and billing for tests that were not medically necessary. RenRX, a laboratory company headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, also agreed to a twenty-five year period of exclusion from participation in any federal health care program.
“The payment of kickbacks in exchange for medical referrals undermines the integrity of our healthcare system. Today’s settlement reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to ensuring that taxpayer monies are well spent and not wasted on unnecessary medical testing,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.
“Healthcare fraud, in any incarnation, hurts patients, honest medical practitioners, and all of the nation’s taxpayers,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Peter G. Strasser. “The favorable resolution of this False Claims Act matter illustrates the collaborative efforts and firm commitment by our federal partners to use all available remedies, both civil and criminal, to address signs of waste and abuse by providers in our healthcare markets.”
The government alleged that between 2013 and 2017, UTC and its principals offered and paid remuneration to physicians to induce the ordering of pharmacogenetic tests, purportedly in return for their participation in a clinical trial known as the Diagnosing Adverse Drug Reactions Registry (DART), clinical trial identifier NCT01970709. The government also alleged that UTC and its principals offered and paid remuneration, including sales commissions, to entities and individuals as part of the scheme, and furnished pharmacogenetic tests that were not medically necessary and billed the Medicare program.
Original source can be found here.