SAN FRANCSICO (CN) – Stryker Orthopedics used phony consulting agreements with orthopedic surgeons to hide kickbacks it paid to sell knee and hip implants, a class-action antitrust complaint claims in Federal Court. Since 2002, Stryker allegedly conspired with four other companies that monopolize the market, and began cooperating with federal investigators in 2005 to avoid prosecution.
Stryker and its co-conspirators allegedly restrained competition and fixed prices on the 700,000 hip and knee implants performed each year in the United States. The five companies control 95 percent of the knee and hip implant market, and Stryker controls 20 percent of them, the complaint states. Implants of the two joints WAS A $5.1 billion industry in 2005, it states.