Olympus Corp. of the Americas has agreed to pay $646 million to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle kickback allegations.
Olympus isn't just a camera company. They're actually the largest distributor of endoscope and the related gear.
If $646 million sounds like a lot, it is: It's the largest medical device company settlement in history, according to the government. The company is actually facing criminal charges, which have been deferred as part of the settlement.
“For years, Olympus Corporation of the Americas and Olympus Latin America dropped the compliance ball and failed to have in place policies and practices that would have prevented the substantial kickbacks and bribes they paid,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “It is appropriate that they be punished for that. At the same time, the deferred prosecution agreement takes into account the companies’ cooperation and commitment to fully functional corporate compliance.”
Olympus admitted to winning new business by giving one doctor with purchasing power at a hospital $400,000 worth of free equipment for his private practice, for example. They also paid for doctors to travel to Japan to win new business.
In a statement, Olympus said it acknowledges the company's responsibility for the past conduct, but that conduct doesn't represent company values.
“Olympus is committed to complying with all laws and regulations and to adhering to our own rigorous Code of Conduct which guides our business processes, decisions and behavior. The Company has implemented and will continue to enhance its robust compliance program. Our ability to meet the needs of our customers and their patients is of paramount importance and we can confirm that the previous conduct did not adversely affect patient health or patient care and the investigations and settlements have had no impact on product or service availability. The mission of Olympus is to help people around the world lead safer, healthier and more fulfilling lives. We remain committed to achieving this mission, both as individuals and as a Company, with uncompromised integrity.”