FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CIV
MONDAY, JUNE 19, 1995                              (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Becton Dickinson and Company Inc. of
Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, will pay the United States $3.3
million to settle allegations it overcharged the government for
in vitro diagnostic substances, reagents, test kits and test sets
under a federal supply contract awarded by the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Justice announced today.
     Assistant Attorney General Frank W. Hunger, in charge of the
Civil Division, said the settlement resolves a lawsuit, United
States ex rel. Siller v. Becton Dickinson and Company Inc.,
originally filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Maryland,
by David Siller, an employee of Scientific Supply Inc., a former
distributor of Becton Dickinson products.  
     Siller filed the suit in 1991 on behalf of the VA under a
provision of the False Claims Act that allows private parties to
sue companies and individuals who have submitted false claims to
the federal government.
     The United States took over prosecution of the suit in
October 1992 and filed a complaint alleging that Becton Dickinson
failed to tell the government it granted discounts to commercial
customers that were higher than those it disclosed to the VA
during contract negotiations.  The suit was dismissed by the
federal court in Baltimore in 1993, but reinstated by the United
States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, in
April 1994. 
     The government's complaint alleged that the VA overpaid
Becton Dickinson for prepared media such as petri plates, blood
culture bottles and related items that are used in VA hospitals
for microbiological tests.  Becton's contract, which ended
December 31, 1991, was for approximately $11 million.
     VA, through federal supply schedule contracts, acts on
behalf of the federal government to establish prices for
medical/surgical products from several suppliers at the same
time.  The VA requires the contractors to disclose accurate,
complete and current information about prices and discounts given
to commercial customers.
     The Office of Inspector General for the VA conducted an
audit and investigation of Siller's allegations, and concluded
that discount information submitted by the contractor when the
contracts were negotiated did not accurately reflect the
company's pricing practices.
     VA Inspector General Stephen A. Trodden said the case is the
latest in a series of substantial recoveries from contractors who
failed to make adequate disclosures to the government.  He said
the cases should clearly signal that his office and agency
management will enforce the government's rights and protect the
interests of veteran programs and the American Taxpayer.
     Siller will receive $561,000 of the settlement proceeds.