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Abiomed settles allegations of wining and dining doctors

A nurse stands in an operating room.
Abiomed makes heart devices that are implanted during surgeries. Photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Abiomed, a company that makes $20,000 heart pumps, agreed Thursday to pay the federal government $3.1 million to clear whistleblower allegations that Abiomed employees took doctors out for lavish dinners as a way to persuade them to use the company's heart devices.

Key quote: "Health care companies seeking to boost profits by wining and dining physicians must be held accountable," a federal official said.

Go deeper: Abiomed paid doctors and surgeons almost $10 million from 2013 through 2016 for things like consulting fees, travel, food and other general items, according to a review of federal data.

  • About $5 million of that total was spent in 2016 alone, and more than half of that money was steered toward just three physicians.
Mike Allen 6 hours ago
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Why Trump added a streetfighter to his legal team

Screenshot via Fox News

A new addition to President Trump's legal team — Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney who is well-known in Washington and has argued for the president on Fox News — reflects three White House realities.

The state of play: (1) The White House is digging in for a fight that looks to be longer and messier than officials had expected. (2) This is another example of the president responding to televised cues. Trump has spent most of his adult life in litigation, and obsesses about legal positioning in the same way that he is consumed by his press coverage. (3) It's another pugilistic voice at the table, and suggests that this weekend's attacks on Mueller won't be the last.

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Facebook reaches a tipping point

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Of all the news crises Facebook has faced during the past year, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is playing out to be the worst and most damaging.

Why it matters: It's not that the reports reveal anything particularly new about how Facebook's back end works — developers have understood the vulnerabilities of Facebook's interface for years. But stakeholders crucial to the company's success — as well as the public seem less willing to listen to its side of the story this time around.