Medical diagnostics giant in Boston PerkinElmer under investigation for unnecessary genetic cancer tests

Boston’s medical diagnostics giant PerkinElmer Inc is the focus of a federal investigation about alleged Medicare fraud involving tens of thousands of unnecessary genetic cancer tests. Investigators are probing whether PerkinElmer enabled a scheme by some its laboratory clients. PerkinElmer ran high volumes of tests for those clients. Investigators are examining whether the firm knew – or should have known – that the tests were not medically necessary and that its clients were billing them to the government program for the elderly and disabled, those three sources said. Such tests determine if patients are at risk of developing hereditary diseases, such as breast or colorectal cancer. Medicare covers the screenings if a patient’s physician deems them necessary, often because of a personal or family history of hereditary cancers.

Two businessmen – each of whom founded two labs that later outsourced genetic cancer tests to PerkinElmer – were criminally charged last fall in connection with the alleged genetic testing.

LabSolutions owner Minal Patel was indicted in September on charges of healthcare fraud and paying and receiving kickbacks to and from marketers who collected cheek swabs from patients for genetic testing.