Week in Review, May 18, 2012

The PharmaCertify™ Team

This past Sunday marked the last drive, walk and face slap on Wisteria Lane.  Desperate Housewives ended its 8 year run, and finally it all makes sense why Mary Alice narrated more seasons of the show than her family’s storyline allowed. Where will we turn for our weekly dose of murder, adultery and backstabbing among neighbors? Hmmm…perhaps this new show called Dallas. It starts next month. Oh well, until then we’ll all just have to make do with real life. Truth is stranger than fiction, right? Let’s find out in this week’s News Week in Review.

The early part of the week brought the unsealing of a whistleblower suit with juicy details alleging that Medtronic installed a surgeon as an editor for a prominent spinal journal to make sure favorable articles about one its products were published. The suit also claims the surgeon allowed authors of the articles to hide their financial ties to the company, and that he did not disclose that he profited from the use of the products. Then a few days later, in a twist worthy of any prime time soap opera, the DOJ announced that it had closed its four year investigation of the company. No charges were issued and no settlement reached.

It’s good news over at the Abbott house. The company closed out a 1999 consent decree with the FDA. The original decree was issued over manufacturing problems at it diagnostic unit.

Everyone’s favorite neighbor, Sen. Charles Grassley, has expressed his disappointment at CMS for postponing the collection of physician spend data required under the Affordable Care Act. The Senator says CMS needs to get the implementation of the law right, and with this new delay, they have no excuse to not get it right. The big question is when will the first reports be due? As of now the March 31, 2013 date still stands. I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned to see how this cliffhanger resolves itself.

The ladies of Wisteria Lane are nothing if not trendy. We like to keep it trendy too, and it seems the big trend in healthcare law enforcement is the enforcement of both state and the federal False Claims Acts. Federal and state enforcement agencies have committed substantial resources to the pursuit of healthcare fraud this year. That trend is likely to continue as recoveries rise and the states become more active in pursuing violations against their own laws, outside of federal efforts.

And speaking of enforcement trends, what about anti-bribery? Much has been made of the DOJ’s commitment to pursuing possible violations of the FCPA, and it has been nearly a year since the UK Bribery Act “went live.” More countries are now passing laws prohibiting the bribery of government officials, foreign officials and bribery in the private sector. Enforcement agencies in various countries are cooperating with each other and fines are rising around globe so this won’t be one trend that is here today and gone tomorrow.

Donald Trump is ready for a fight and he says the FCPA should be overturned. On CNBC’s Squawk Box, the Donald said businesses shouldn’t be prosecuted for going overseas and following the practices and customs of other countries. He went on to say keeping other countries honest shouldn’t be the job of the United States. If those countries want to prosecute bribery, let them do it.

The latest bribery scandal on the block, Wal-Mart, has raised questions about the value of self-disclosure. For its part, Wal-Mart did not disclose its findings of bribery until the 11th hour. Lawyers say in certain situations, bribery involving a member of senior management for example, self-disclosure is generally recommended.

Well, that’s is for another week of drama in this crazy compliance world of ours. Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction. As the storylines continue to evolve, we’ll keep you apprised of all the juicy details right here at the News in Review and through our daily Twitter feed. Have a great weekend everyone!

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