Market Overview

Questions Raised Over Bio-Reference Labs

A story published in the Street Sweeper suggests that Bio-Reference Laboratories (NASDAQ: BRLI) is not as healthy as it might seem.

The controversy seems to be centered on BRLI's version of the pap smear. “With that test, known as GenPap, Bio-Reference greatly expanded the scope of a routine screening tool used on more than 50 million American women each year,” writes Melissa Davis. “By the time that GenPap hit the market, however, gynecologists had already spent decades effectively utilizing traditional pap smears and (if warranted) cheap supplemental tests to diagnose the most prevalent disorders suffered by the patients they treat.”

Davis writes that BRLI is promoting GenPap as a valuable test for “essentially all women”, but that the test is not cost effective. “I use it selectively,” says Dr. John Siegle, a veteran obstetrician/gynecologist who trains third-year residents in the field, when interviewed for the story. “It's very, very pricey and not really cost-effective for society. If used selectively and appropriately, there is a place for it,” he adds. But “they're pushing us to do this on everybody. (And) that can't – that shouldn't – be done.”

However, Davis says that Street Sweeper interviews are painting a dark picture of the company. “Together, they portrayed Bio-Reference as a company that relentlessly pushes excessive specialty tests – even bribing healthcare providers for their business - and then routinely utilizes improper billing practices (such as “upcoding” and “code stacking”) in order to inflate the payments that it receives.”

It is important to mention that, when contacted, BRLI chose not to comment. One would imagine that they will come out with something soon, as the story alleges unsafe health practices and fraud.

Posted-In: News FDA Legal Media

 

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