While Dr. Mark Midei was allegedly implanting unnecessary cardiac stents in hundreds of patients at a Towson hospital, stent manufacturer Abbott Laboratories was paying for crab and barbecue feasts at his Monkton home and building a business strategy around the Maryland cardiologist's high output, according to a federal report being released today. Abbott, a $30 billion-a-year, Chicago-based pharmaceutical firm, ranked Midei among its top-volume doctors in the Northeast and made plying him with research money and "VIP trips" part of its business plan in late 2008 about the time Midei's usage of Abbott-brand stents soared, the report said. The 170-page document contains the findings of a months-long investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance into allegations of inappropriate and potentially harmful cardiac procedures performed by Midei at St. Joseph Medical Center. It calls the case "a clear example of potential fraud, waste and abuse," noting that St. Joseph billed government and private insurers more than $6.6 million for the procedures.
BARBARA HADDOCK TAYLOR, Baltimore Sun