On November 16, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert highlighting fraud and abuse risks associated with payments to physicians related to speaker programs sponsored by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Despite the pharmaceutical and device companies’ longstanding use of speaker programs to educate heath care professionals about their products, OIG appears to take a different view of company-sponsored speaker programs, expressing doubt as to whether those programs have any educational value at all. Given prior guidance regarding the anti-kickback statute (AKS) risks posed by speaker programs, the health care industry is poised to discover the answer to two key questions: What does the new Special Fraud Alert really add to the mix? And, will the new Special Fraud Alert signal a new wave in AKS enforcement priorities? While only time will definitively answer both questions, this client advisory takes a closer look at the new Special Fraud Alert with a view towards managing compliance.

For more information, click here to read the full client advisory.