DOJ Expands Superbug Probe; White Houses Moves to Antibiotic-Free Meat

Last month, we reported that the DOJ had opened up an investigation into the development of the duodenoscope at Olympus in connection with the superbug outbreak that has been experienced at hospitals around the country following ERCP procedures. The Justice Department has now now expanded its investigation with subpoenas to the two other major medical scope manufacturers, Fujifilm Holdings and Pentax Medical.

In other superbug news, the White House opened its first summit to fight antibiotic resistance on Tuesday. The gathering included representatives from food companies, pharmaceutical and agricultural companies, hospitals, retailers and other groups.

There are also potential implications under the False Claims for the changes happening at the Government. The White House has ordered the development of a preference for the purchase of antibiotic-free meat and poultry at government cafeterias through General Services Administration (GSA) contracts. If food suppliers falsely claim that they are entitled to this preference, while providing food that does not qualify, they may be subject to liability under the False Claims Act and a whistleblower could get a share of the recovery as a relator. This is some time away – the administration set a 2020 deadline for the creation of this preference, but some agencies may do so quicker than required.

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