Company news: Abbott LaboratoriesThe Senate Finance Committee released a report detailing contacts between Abbott Laboratories and a Baltimore cardiologist who was a top user of the company's stents, having inserted 30 of them in a single day in 2008. Two days later, an Abbott rep rewarded him with a barbecue dinner at the doctor's home, spending $2,159 on a menu including a whole slow-smoked pig. The Senate Finance Committee report came out of a series of articles in the Baltimore Sun that accused the doctor of inserting stents in patients that didn't need them to reap huge reimbursements mainly from Medicare. The Senate report, which drew on 10,000 documents from Abbott and St. Joseph Medical Center, where the doctor practiced, put the number of unnecessary insertions at 585.
Separately, Abbott was one of several companies that agreed to pay tens of millions to settle charges of fraudulent reimbursement claims made to federal programs. Abbott settled for $126.5 million, while a unit of Boehringer Ingelheim will pay $280 million and B. Braun Melsungen $14.74 million.