Army doc to pay fine for accepting meals, cash from Guidant

An Army cardiologist will have to pay more than $12,700 in fines and restitution for accepting free meals and illegal payments from a Guidant Sales, a unit of Boston Scientific. Maj. Jason Layne Davis' sentence, which results from his position with the federal government, marks a rare instance in which the Justice Department has gone after a doctor for taking such gifts, as the Seattle Times notes. The federal government forbids accepting such payments.

Judge J. Richard Creatura of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington said Davis' sentence reflects "every dinner, every bottle of wine and every other gratuity that you have ever received from Guidant."

Between April and October 2007 while practicing at the Madigan Army Medical Center, Davis accepted nearly $5,000 from Guidant Sales, according to the DoJ. Earlier this year, Davis pleaded guilty to illegally accepting money from Guidant. Although he started getting meals and other gifts from Boston Sci in 2005, it was the 2007 payments that resulted in Davis guilty plea. The payments were for Boston Sci employees to watch Davis perform 7 cardiac-implant procedures, according to the Seattle Times.

Also in 2007, Guidant spent $3,388, "treating [Davis] and his wife to multiple, extravagant meals with significant tabs for alcohol" and paid him $2,000 for a 45-minute presentation, according to prosecutors.

"There is no question but that Dr. Davis committed a criminal offense, and that he should have known better, but there is also no doubt that those who plied him with food, alcohol, money and other courtesies knew exactly what they were doing, and why they were doing it...It was thus perfectly appropriate to charge Dr. Davis with a crime in this case. Dr. Davis knew enough to recognize that he should have refused the meals, gifts, and ultimately the payments offered by Boston Scientific," prosecutors said in a memo.

For its part, Guidant Sales paid $600,000 last year to settle claims it illegally provided similar payments, meals and gratuities to induce Davis to use the company's medical devices in cardiac procedures and to influence other doctors practicing at Madigan to use the devices, according to a DoJ statement.

- check out the DoJ release
- get more from the Seattle Times