Medical equipment company ordered to pay $48 million in lawsuit

by: Craig Lucie Updated:


Channel 2 Action News learned later Monday afternoon, a judge ordered a local medical equipment manufacturer to pay out more than $48 million in a whistle-blower lawsuit.

A judge ordered C.R. Bard to pay out after Julie Darity, from Macon, said she was eventually fired by Bard after she started noticing kickbacks for hospitals involving cancer treatments.

"I think it's the largest kickback case in Georgia history," attorney Marlan Wilbanks told Channel 2's Craig Lucie.

Wilbanks said C.R. Bard overcharged dozens of hospitals around the country for prostate cancer seeds.

The radioactive seeds allow doctors to treat patients by limiting the amount of damage to surrounding tissues.

One patient may have 40-100 seeds implanted.

The lawsuit alleged that when hospitals complained about the high price of the seeds, Bard told them to pass the charges onto Medicare.

By doing this, Wilbanks said Medicare would then pay Bard.

In return, attorneys said Bard would then kick back some of the money to the hospitals along with some other perks.

"Some were financial grants given to the hospitals, some were equipment, equipment maintenance," Wilbanks said.

Wilbanks said former Bard manager Julie Darity is a hero for coming forward. She was rewarded in a big way when she asked Bard if she could keep her computer when she was fired.

C.R. Bard released a statement to Channel 2 Action News saying, "The Company is pleased that it has finalized agreements with the government to resolve matters related to its brachytherapy business dating back to 2006.

"This resolution allows the Company to put this matter behind it and continue to focus on delivering life-enhancing medical devices and technologies to patients around the world. We remain committed to continuously enhancing and improving our compliance programs in accordance with industry standards.

"As a Company, we emphasize and expect that all of our employees around the world adhere to the highest ethical behavior in all daily activities and comply with all laws and regulations that apply to the conduct of Bard's business worldwide."

Darity, who paid $250 for the laptop from her old job, will get 21 percent of the $48 million settlement.

She will then have to pay her attorneys 40 percent of that. Before taxes, Darity will receive about $6 million.

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