Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mylan Settles, Merck KGaA Pays the Fine

The parade of legal settlements involving large health care organizations accused of wrong-doing just gets more and more crowded.  Here is the latest, courtesy the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Mylan Inc., a generic-drug manufacturer in Cecil, agreed to a $280 million settlement of allegations that its Dey Inc. specialty-drug subsidiary cheated the government out of millions of dollars by reporting falsely inflated payments for several drugs, the Justice Department said.

'The government paid millions of claims for far greater amounts than it would have if Dey had reported truthful prices,' the Justice Department said.

Mylan acquired Dey when it purchased Merck KGaA's generic-drug business in October 2007 for $6.8 billion. The government's action began before Mylan acquired Dey.

Dey said in a statement that Merck KGaA is responsible for paying the full amount of this settlement as well as all costs and other expenses associated with pending and future related Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement lawsuits involving Dey.

It all gets so tiresome, doesn't it. However, before one starts yawning, remember how such settlements are markers of the prevalence of bad behavior by major health care organizations. The continuing parade of settlements thus is a big clue that there is something very rotten going on in health care, that the leadership of health care is increasingly amoral, greedy, and lawless.

Here again is our generic statement on the phenomenon:  As in many previous cases, note that the monetary cost of the above settlement, while it seems large to normal humans, would be just slightly more than round-up error for a large multi-national company.  As I have said repeatedly,  penalties that only appear to be (relatively small) costs of doing business are unlikely to deter future bad behavior. Until the people who actually authorized, directed and implemented the bad behavior have to suffer some negative consequences, expect the bad behavior to continue.  As long as the bad behavior continues, expect health care costs to continue to rise, while access falls, and quality suffers.  True health care reform requires accountability, integrity, and transparency of health care organizational leadership.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While watching a show regarding another issue I was struck by the statement that those in leadership positions held a foreign moral code. That is they did not view the world and their place in it in the same context as the rest of us.

This seems to describe the leadership of many of our medical leaders. In the last few weeks we have seen unnecessary stents placed in patients, the issue of defective hip replacements, spine surgeries, and any number of drug issues, all with direct impact on people’s health.

Additionally we have seen doctors talk openly about being paid for services of questionable value. They always seem to make the statement that they performed the service, therefore they should be paid.

I have to question the moral code these people operate by and how did they get this way? Additionally, why are they attracted to medicine and how do they maintain their positions?

We appear to have reached the point where there is a fundamental flaw in the way we choose and promote those in the medical field, both in management and those offering medical services as doctors.

Steve Lucas