DOJ Files Suit Against SpineFrontier

By Julie A. Vetalice

The U.S. Department of Justice entered a complaint in two whistleblower cases filed under the False Claims Act against SpineFrontier and related entities and executives, alleging payment of kickbacks to spine surgeons to induce use of SpineFrontier surgical devices.

The complaint alleges that between 2013 and 2018, defendants used Impartial Medical Experts (IME), a sham company created by the defendants, to pay spine surgeons over $8 million in sham consulting payments characterized as product evaluations. However, surgeons were paid based upon the volume and value of SpineFrontier devices that they used, according to the suit.

The suit maintains that SpineFrontier was IME's only client, paying consulting surgeons $500 for a cervical procedure and $1,000 for a lumbar procedure, only if the surgeon used SpineFrontier devices. SpineFrontier and IME did not limit the number of times that a surgeon could evaluate a device, and did not review feedback that surgeons provided.

Consulting surgeons reportedly generated $100 million in revenue for SpineFrontier.