Respironics is to pay $34.8 million for alleged False Claims Act violations related to the sale of sleep masks designed to treat sleep apnea. Allegedly Respironics, a Murrysville, PA based company, paid kickbacks in the form of free call center services to durable medical equipment (DME) companies that purchased the masks. The DME companies; otherwise, would have had to pay a monthly fee based upon the number of patients who used the masks manufactured by a Respironics competitor. The alleged conduct occurred between April 2012 and November 2015. Approximately $34.14 million will be paid to the federal government and about $660,000 will be paid to various state governments based on their Medicaid program participation.
Dr. Gibran Ameer initially brought the lawsuit under the False Claims Act qui tam provisions. Dr. Ameer had worked for different DME companies. He will receive $5.38 million out of the federal government’s share of the settlement. The Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s office of the District of South Carolina, and HHS Office of Counsel to the Inspector General and Office of Investigations and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units all worked together to bring about the settlement in this lawsuit.