Olympus Corp., a Tokyo-based company that produces medical devices, will be out $646 million after they agreed to a recent settlement. The company was accused of illegally bribing and providing kickbacks to doctors and hospitals that agreed to use their equipment over other competitors.
NPR describes the details of those bribes and kickbacks:
U.S. investigators said the Tokyo-based company’s ‘greed-fueled kickback scheme’ from 2006 to 2011 used research grants, consulting deals, luxury trips, gifts of hot-air ballooning and spa treatments and free equipment to induce influential doctors to order more Olympus devices at prominent hospitals and help the company keep out competitors.
Most of the credit for the uncovering of much of this information is due to a former Olympus employee, John Slowik. Slowik worked at Olympus for about 20 years and was named the compliance officer for the company in 2009.
He filed complaints against the company’s illegal actions, but was fired in 2010. Slowik filed his whistleblower case in 2010 and is now receiving $51 million of the $646 million from Olympus.
Olympus has also been under fire for their equipment. The company’s duodenoscopes (gastrointestinal scopes) have been linked to 13 different outbreaks of drug-resistant infections in almost 200 people. They have since recalled these scopes and are working to change the design, which was proving too difficult to clean.
According to a CNN article, Olympus is “committed to complying with the law going forward” and accepts responsibility for its previous misconduct.
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