Doctors skate in bribery scandal sparked by Seattle informer


Few consequences so far for 29 VA podiatrists caught taking nearly $1M in pharmaceutical company bribes
Seven years ago, a tipster came to Veterans Affairs Department internal investigators with a thread to pull.

A Seattle-based VA doctor was “too cozy” with a pharmaceutical salesperson plying clinicians with bribes whitewashed as “speaking fees.” Doctors were paid thousands of dollars – on top of sweeteners like chartered fishing trips and Def Leppard tickets – to push Dermagraft, a “biological bandage” primarily used to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Investigators ultimately determined that salespeople for Dermagraft manufacturer Advanced BioHealing had put dozens of doctors on the payroll by the time the pay-to-promote scheme broke apart. While the VA-related bribes drew the most attention, Advanced BioHealing and others appear to have suborned healthcare providers across the industry.

According to federal prosecutors, nearly all of doctors involved have avoided discipline of any sort. More troublingly, investigators say they are still soliciting bribes.
Doctors skate in bribery scandal sparked by Seattle informer

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