The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a $145 million settlement with Practice Fusion, a company that furnished software used for keeping electronic health records (EHRs). The settlement describes a scheme in which Practice Fusion’s software would encourage doctors to prescribe more opioids, which in turn would earn them a kickback from a pharmaceutical company. The pharmaceutical company involved was not named in the settlement.
The scheme, as described in the settlement, worked as follows: Practice Fusion offered to introduce code into its EHR software on behalf of the unnamed pharmaceutical company that would cause alerts to appear on doctor’s computers. The alerts were designed to induce doctors to prescribe more extended-release opioids than would be medically necessary, thus resulting in more prescriptions for the pharmaceutical company’s products. In exchange, the pharmaceutical company would pay $1 million to Practice Fusion for the covert promotion of their products.
The settlement comes as medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies face increased scrutiny due to the opioid crisis, which has resulted in an epidemic of prescription opioid addiction and overdoses. The DOJ has been cracking down on people that have helped encourage the epidemic, whether they were doctors that overprescribed in exchange for kickbacks, or pharmaceutical companies that deliberately underplayed the risks of addiction and overdose to sell more prescriptions. Practice Fusion is not the first company to face penalties as a result of its part in the opioid crisis, and it is likely it will not be the last.
If you or someone you know has become addicted to prescription painkillers or has suffered an injury or died as a result of an accidental overdose, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in medical malpractice and products liability will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with opioid addiction. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York medical malpractice or products liability lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.