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Press Release

Urine Drug Test Laboratory Sales Manager Agrees To Pay $649,407 To Settle False Claims Allegations With United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina announced that it has settled claims with Manoj Kumar, a former sales representative and manager for Physician’s Choice Laboratory Services (PCLS), a defunct urine drug testing laboratory that was based in Charlotte, N.C.

Kumar has paid $649,407 to resolve claims that he participated in schemes to illegally induce physicians to send medically unnecessary urine drug tests to PCLS.  Kumar was a defendant in a civil complaint filed by the United States against Kumar, PCLS and other agents of the company. 

The United States alleged that Kumar, along with other agents of PCLS, provided benefits to physicians to induce them to send urine samples to PCLS for drug testing that was not medically necessary.  The complaint alleges that Kumar’s actions violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, which makes it illegal for any person to knowingly and willfully solicit or receive, or offer or pay any remuneration in exchange for the referral of items or services that are paid for by a federal health care program.  The United States alleged that PCLS then submitted claims to Medicare for these tests in violation of the False Claims Act. 

“Tests and other services should be ordered by physicians based on sound medical judgment, not on financial benefit,” said Andrew Murray, United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  “Paying inducements to obtain orders for tests and other services corrupts medical decision-making and causes unnecessary costs to federal healthcare programs.” 

The United States alleged that Kumar received payments from PCLS to channel urine drug tests to PCLS from physician practices that he managed.  The United States further alleged that Kumar, along with a co-defendant in the case, provided equipment and related services to physicians in exchange for those physicians sending urine drug samples to PCLS. 

“The Ant-Kickback Statute is meant to protect patients and federal health programs from medical decision-making corrupted by financial motive,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “My office will aggressively pursue such claims.” 

The United States Complaint in Intervention was filed in the qui tam case United States ex rel. Hartnett & Shoched v. Physicians Laboratory Services, LLC et al. (Civil Case No. 17-cv-37) which was consolidated with the qui tam case United States ex rel. Jenkins et al. v. Physician’s Choice Laboratory Services et al. (Civil Case No. 17-cv-46).  The two qui tam cases were originally filed in the Middle District of Florida and the Eastern District of Tennessee, respectively, but transferred to the Western District of North Carolina in January, 2017.  Additional defendants remain in the case which is currently in litigation.  The Settlement Agreement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by Kumar.   

Updated December 17, 2019

Topic
False Claims Act