U.S. Army reopens doc payment investigation

Now that a $25 million settlement with Novo Nordisk has closed, the U.S. Army has restarted its probe of improper doctor payments at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

The Army is keeping its mouth shut on the particulars of their probe. "The Army surgeon general and commanding general United States Army Medical Command re-opened the AR 15-6 investigation to include a systematic review of honoraria in the medical research environment," the command stated, as quoted by MySanAntonio. "Until the conclusion of the subsequent AR 15-6 investigation, the office of the surgeon general must refrain from any further comment."

In the Novo settlement, the Army found that doctors at Fort Sam's Institute of Surgical Research received unlimited grant funds and other kickbacks to promote the hemophilia drug NovoSeven for off-label use as a trauma bleeding treatment. The Institute released studies that touted the drug's abilities, sparking more use in civilian settings. The drug's benefits are controversial, as it continues to be used in the field, but studies have shown the off-label trauma use isn't promising.

According to Pharmalot sources, the probe will look outside the Institute of Surgical Research for improper conduct, and there's no word what device or drugmakers could be investigated.

- read the MySanAntonio post
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