Sunday, April 24, 2005

Some Evidence of the Rising Tide of Health Care Malfeasance

In the Boston Globe is a story about lawsuits filed under the US False Claims Act, which allows people to sue goverment contractors for "wrongdoing" in concert with the Department of Justice. Formerly, most suits under this act were against defense contractors. But now, by far the most frequent targets are in health care. For example, in fiscal 2004, settlements and judgments from fraud affecting the US Department of Health and Human Services totaled $502 million, while those from fraud affecting the Department of Defense were $27 million. A US Assistant Attorney General stated "We have 100 or more cases involving many different pharmaceutical manufacturers and other entities such as pharmacy benefit managers, doctors, and hospitals. In all, the cases name over 225 defendants. They involve a myriad of different drugs; at present count over 500 drugs."
This is just a bit more suggestive data of the rising tide of malfeasance that threatens to engulf health care, and sweep away physicians' professional values.

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