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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.