Doctors and Lab Companies Used Unneeded Cheek Swabs to Profit, Feds Say

The owner of an Addison medical company and a California laboratory have agreed to pay the government several million dollars to settle allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit that they paid kickbacks to doctors for referring patients for unnecessary genetic tests, the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas said Wednesday.Mitch Edland, owner of DNA Stat, LLC of Addison will pay $270,000, and Primex Clinical Laboratories LLC of California will pay $3.5 million under the settlement, the U.S. attorney's office said. But a Jan. 18 agreed order signed by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle said Edland owes the government $6.3 million. The U.S. attorney's office did not respond to requests for clarification. The companies are accused of paying kickbacks in exchange for laboratory referrals for patient pharmacogenetic testing, which involves studying a person's genes to determine how he or she will respond to medications. It allows health-care workers to swab a patient's cheek and provide specific drug therapy based on genetic makeup. Primex provided the medically unnecessary tests through an agreement with DNA Stat, a laboratory management company that employed sales representatives and licensed pharmacists, federal authorities said. Medicare picked up the tab, they said."We all get paid. Yup, you bet. You bet. We're looking for volume. It is about getting tests in the door," a DNA Stat trainer is quoted as saying in the federal whistleblower lawsuit.The lawsuit said DNA Stat was "preying on this hope for a revolutionary new tool to improve patient outcomes."  Continue reading...

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