Duodenoscope Lawsuits Allege Olympus’ Contaminated Scopes Transmit Deadly Superbug Infections To Patients.
While filings of duodenoscope infection lawsuits continued against Olympus Corp. of the Americas, the company has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay $646 million to settle criminal and civil claims of kickback schemes and foreign bribery in a separate matter. Olympus is the largest distributor in the United States of endoscopes and related equipment and is defending itself against duodenoscope lawsuits alleging the company’s medical scopes have a design defect that prevents proper cleaning of the device. A contaminated duodenoscope allows transmission of a bacteria that is nearly resistant to antibiotics and sickens or kills patients, according to the complaints.
Southern Med Law is investigating potential duodenoscope infection lawsuits on behalf of individuals or their surviving loved ones, who were diagnosed with a superbug infection following a medical procedure. To arrange for a free, no obligation legal consultation, please call Southern Med Law today, at (205) 547-5525. More information about this issue can be obtained by visiting www.southernmedlaw.com.
Olympus Corp. was charged in a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) New Jersey office with conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback laws. The charges include Olympus giving $5,000 to a hospital in an attempt to win business and close a pending $750,000 sale. Olympus also paid for three doctors to travel to Japan as a quid pro quo for their hospital’s decision to switch from a competitor to Olympus. Overall, the kickbacks helped Olympus obtain more than $600 million in sales and realize more than $230 million in gross profits, according to the DOJ. Olympus also agreed to pay $23 million to resolve criminal charges filed against its subsidiary, Olympus Latin America, for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing publicly employed health care providers and hospital officials across Central and South America to illegally win business and sell products. The DOJ says the settlement is the largest in the history of the U.S. anti-kickback law and the largest ever paid by a medical device maker.
[justice.gov/opa/pr/medical-equipment-company-will-pay-646-million-making-illegal-payments-doctors-and-hospitals, Department of Justice]
In addition to federal prosecution, Olympus Corp. faced questioning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over its duodenoscopes that have been linked to infection outbreaks at hospitals nationwide. The flexible medical devices, inserted through a patient’s mouth, are used to drain fluids from pancreatic and biliary ducts blocked by cancerous tumors, gallstones or other gastrointestinal conditions. The scopes’ design makes them difficult to properly sanitize and renders them contaminated. Tainted scopes have transmitted Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a “superbug” bacteria that is nearly resistant to antibiotics. Over the past three years, 21 patients died and at least 24 more became ill from infections associated with the scopes in Pittsburgh, Seattle and Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times. In January, Olympus announced a recall of 4,000 duodenoscopes nationwide that will undergo repair and redesign by August.
Olympus is named in lawsuits by patients or their survivors who allege in their duodenoscope infection complaints that the company failed to notify the medical community about the infection risk associated with its scopes.
About Southern Med Law and Filing A Duodenoscope Lawsuit: Southern Med Law is an experienced law firm providing legal representation to the men and women across the country who have been victims of negligent personal injuries, medical malpractice, dangerous drugs, faulty medical devices and defective products. Led by Dr. François Blaudeau, an attorney and a practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist, the legal staff at Southern Med Law possesses a deep understanding of the complex medical and legal questions at issue in all manner of product liability and personal injury claims. They’re not afraid to take on the nation’s largest corporations in their pursuit of justice, and are committed to ensuring that all victims have access to the type of aggressive legal advocacy that assures success.
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