AngioDynamics Agrees to Pay $12.5M to Resolve False Claims; Whistleblower to Get $2.3M

Posted: 07/20/2018  browse the blog archive
AngioDynamics Agrees to Pay $12.5M to Resolve False Claims; Whistleblower to Get $2.3M

Latham, New York-based medical device manufacturer AngioDynamics, Inc. has agreed to pay the United States a total of $12.5 million to resolve allegations that the company caused healthcare providers to submit false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare programs relating to the use of two medical devices, LC Bead and the Perforator Vein Ablation Kit (PVAK), the Justice Department announced this week.   

AngioDynamics will pay $11.5 million to resolve allegations that the company caused false claims to be submitted to government healthcare programs for procedures involving an unapproved drug-delivery device that was marketed with false and misleading promotional claims..  The government alleged that, from May 2006 through December 2011, AngioDynamics served as the U.S. distributor for Biocompatibles plc, the manufacturer of LC Bead, and marketed LC Bead for use as a drug-delivery device in combination with chemotherapy drugs.  Moreover, AngioDynamics personnel routinely claimed that this particular use of LC Bead, which FDA had twice declined to approve, was “better”, “superior”, “safer” and “less toxic” than alternative treatments, even though there was insufficient clinical evidence to support the truthfulness of these claims.  The government also alleged that AngioDynamics was aware that many insurers declined to provide coverage for certain LC Bead procedures and, as a result, instructed healthcare providers to use inaccurate billing codes when submitting claims for such uses.  The federal share of the civil settlement is approximately $10.9 million, and the state Medicaid share of the civil settlement is approximately $600,000.  The government previously resolved related criminal and civil claims against Biocompatibles in November 2016.      

AngioDynamics will separately pay $1 million to resolve allegations that the company caused false claims to be submitted to federal healthcare programs in connection with the use of the PVAK, later renamed the 400 micron kit.  In 2008, AngioDynamics acquired the PVAK as part of a product suite that utilizes a laser to close or collapse malfunctioning veins.  The PVAK was FDA-cleared only for use in treating superficial veins, and, in 2011, AngioDynamics requested that the FDA clearance include the treatment of perforator veins.  However, FDA informed the company that the treatment of perforator veins constitutes a new indication for which safety and efficacy were unknown.  As a result, AngioDynamics voluntarily recalled the PVAK and re-issued the product under a new name, the 400 micron kit that did not refer to the unapproved use of treating perforator veins.  Notwithstanding the recall and rebranding, certain AngioDynamics personnel, as part of a continued campaign to market the device to treat perforator veins, falsely represented to providers that Medicare would cover this use despite Medicare coverage restrictions to the contrary.     

The civil settlement relating to LC Bead resolves a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act by Mr. Ryan Bliss, who formerly worked in the marketing departments of both AngioDynamics and Biocompatibles.  The Act permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and share in a portion of the government’s recovery.  The civil lawsuit was filed in the Western District of Texas and is captioned United States ex rel. Ryan Bliss v. Biocompatibles, Inc., et al., Case No. SA-13-CA-0667-XR.  As part of today’s resolution, Mr. Bliss will receive approximately $2.3 million from the settlement relating to LC Bead.

The Chanler Group, in association with the Hirst Law Group, represents whistleblowers who take action under the False Claims Act to report fraud committed against the federal and state governments.  We have years of experience representing whistleblower clients who expose every kind of fraud against the government, including health care fraud, contract fraud, and tax fraud.  Read more about our expertise in False Claims Act cases and how you can take action.