Philips Respironics has paid $2,471,359.25 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by giving kickbacks to sleep laboratories, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits paying money or giving goods to induce referrals for medical services or items covered by a federal health care program, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE. Claims submitted to these programs in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute give rise to liability under the False Claims Act.

The settlement resolves allegations that from 2016 through 2021, Philips RS North America LLC f/k/a Philips Respironics Inc provided sleep labs with free masks used to treat and diagnose sleep-related respiratory disorders to induce the labs’ physicians to write referrals or prescriptions for Respironics-brand masks that suppliers would fill and bill to federal health care programs.

“When kickbacks are used as bribes, patients suffer,” says U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath, in a release. “Companies like Philips Respironics will be held accountable if they undermine our trust in the medical system and shift medical advice from a patient’s best interest to lining their own pockets.”

“Respironics’ improper inducements corrupted the integrity of federal healthcare programs, including the Department of Defense’s (DoD) TRICARE program,” says Bryan D. Denny, special agent-in-charge of the DoD Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office, in a release. “DCIS will continue to pursue those who defraud or attempt to defraud TRICARE, because those deceptive actions ultimately harm those defending our country and their families.”

This settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and Office of Counsel to the Inspector General; the Defense Health Agency Office of General Counsel; the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice; and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dylan M. Aste.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

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