|INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/02/2018|
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accurately or reliably, or at all, from intermediate producers who may be unwilling or unable to provide this information or further identify their sources of supply or to notify us if these sources change. In addition, these metals are subject to price fluctuations and shortages which can affect our ability to obtain the manufactured materials we rely on at favorable terms or from consistent sources. These changes could have an adverse impact on our ability to manufacture and market our devices and products.
The Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback laws, and several similar state laws that may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers, prohibit payments, or other remuneration that could be considered to induce hospitals, physicians, or other potential purchasers of our products either to refer patients or to purchase, lease or order, or arrange for or recommend the purchase, lease or order, of healthcare products or services for which payment may be made under federal and state healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid and any other third-party payor programs. Further, the PPACA, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the federal anti-kickback and criminal health care fraud statutes. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the PPACA provides that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal anti-kickback statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the false claims statutes. Although we would not submit claims directly to government payors, manufacturers can be held liable under the federal false claim act if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims by, for example, providing inaccurate billing or coding information to customers or promoting a product off-label.
These laws may affect our sales, marketing, and other promotional activities by limiting the kinds of financial arrangements we may have with hospitals, physicians, or other potential purchasers of our products. They particularly impact how we structure our sales offerings, including discount practices, customer support, education and training programs, physician consulting, and other service arrangements. These laws are broadly written, and it is often difficult to determine precisely how these laws will be applied to specific circumstances. Violating anti-kickback laws can result in civil and criminal penalties, which can be substantial and include exclusion from government healthcare programs for non-compliance. Even an unsuccessful challenge or investigation into our practices could cause adverse publicity, and be costly to defend, and thus could harm our business and results of operations.
The PPACA also imposes new reporting and disclosure requirements on device manufacturers for any “transfer of value” made or distributed to prescribers and other healthcare providers. Such information must be made publicly available in a searchable format. In addition, device manufacturers are required to report and disclose any ownership or investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members, as well as any transfers of value made to such physician owners and investors, during the preceding calendar year. Failure to submit required information may result in civil monetary penalties of up to an aggregate of $165,786 per year (and up to an aggregate of $1.105 million per year for “knowing failures”), for all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests not reported in an annual submission. Device manufacturers are required to submit reports to CMS by the 90th day of each calendar year.
In addition, there has been increased federal and state regulation of payments made to physicians, including the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation, and other remuneration to physicians. Certain states mandate implementation of commercial compliance programs to ensure compliance with these laws, impose restrictions on device manufacturer marketing practices, and/or require the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation, and other remuneration to physicians or marketing expenditures and pricing information. The shifting commercial compliance environment and the need to build and maintain robust and expandable systems to comply with multiple jurisdictions with different compliance and/or reporting requirements increases the possibility that a healthcare company may be found out of compliance of one or more of the requirements, subjecting us to significant civil monetary penalties.
Compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our OUS operations increases our cost of doing business in foreign jurisdictions and could expose us or our employees to fines and penalties in the U.S. and/or abroad. These numerous and sometimes conflicting laws and regulations include U.S. laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and similar laws in foreign countries, such as the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010, which became effective on July 1, 2011. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal sanctions against us, our officers or our employees, prohibitions on the conduct of our business and damage to our reputation. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, or agents will not violate our policies.
OUR PRODUCTS ARE SUBJECT TO A LENGTHY AND UNCERTAIN DOMESTIC REGULATORY REVIEW PROCESS. IF WE DO NOT OBTAIN AND MAINTAIN THE NECESSARY DOMESTIC REGULATORY AUTHORIZATIONS, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE OUR PRODUCTS IN THE U.S.
Our products and operations are subject to extensive regulation in the U.S. by the FDA. The FDA regulates the development and clinical testing, manufacturing, labeling, storage, record keeping, promotion, sales, distribution, and post-market support and medical device reporting in the U.S. to ensure that medical products distributed domestically are safe and effective for their intended uses. In order for us to market products for use in the U.S., we generally must first obtain clearance from the FDA pursuant to Section 510(k) of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FFDCA”). Clearance under Section 510(k) requires demonstration that a new device is substantially equivalent to another device with 510(k) clearance or grandfathered (“pre-amendment”) status.
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