Health Law Highlights

Second Circuit Defines “Willful” under Anti-Kickback Statute

Summary of article from Policy & Medicine, by Thomas Sullivan:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that for a defendant to be considered “willful” under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), they must be aware that their actions are somehow unlawful. This decision came from a qui tam case against McKesson Corp, which was accused of offering free access to business tools to oncology practices in return for using McKesson as their primary drug supplier. The court upheld the dismissal of the case, finding the evidence insufficient to prove that McKesson acted with wrongful intent. The court’s interpretation of “willful” under the AKS protects those who unintentionally engage in prohibited conduct. Despite this, the case was sent back for review of potential violations of state anti-kickback laws, which may have less stringent requirements.