Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office has reached a $20 million settlement in a probe into whether a major cancer-treatment firm improperly worked with competitors in dividing up care in the state.
Attorneys for Moody and Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC filed the settlement Thursday in Leon County circuit court.
The Fort Myers-based firm will pay $20 million over four years as part of the settlement and agreed to cooperate with Moody’s office in the investigation but “does not admit any specific wrongdoing that was or could have been alleged by the attorney general,” the settlement says.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Florida Cancer Specialists has agreed to pay $100 million in a federal criminal case that involved allegations the firm had conspired with a competing oncology group.
The state investigation involved whether Florida Cancer Specialists violated a state antitrust law and a law known as the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
A complaint, also filed Thursday in Leon County circuit court, alleged that Florida Cancer Specialists “attempted to conspire or conspired” with four other companies “to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating the provision of medical oncology treatments and radiation oncology treatment in Florida.”
It alleged that Florida Cancer Specialists “attempted to enter or entered into agreements with its co-conspirators whereby certain oncology treatments would be exclusively allocated to FCS (Florida Cancer Specialists) and in turn, other different oncology treatments would be allocated to the co-conspirators.”
The complaint does not name the other companies but lists them as Company A, Company B, Company C and Company D. It indicated Company A, Company B and Company C provided oncology services, while Company D “is a large health care system that operates multiple hospitals and other facilities throughout Florida.”
The complaint said the alleged wrongdoing lasted for at least six years, ending in 2016. In a news release announcing the settlement, Moody’s office said the alleged wrongdoing reduced choices for patients seeking cancer treatment.
“Cancer patients have enough to worry about without having to be concerned with unfair market practices that could adversely affect consumer choice,” Moody said in a statement. “We will not allow market-disrupting practices like the intentional elimination of competition through coordinated geographic or product market allocation to negatively impact health care consumer choice.”