Essilor US$23.8m settlement

Essilor Laboratories of America has agreed to pay US$23.8m (NZ$37.2m) to settle a lawsuit which accused the eyewear giant of providing unlawful kickbacks to California eyecare providers (ECPs) in exchange for sending business its way. 


A 2016 whistleblower lawsuit alleged Essilor unfairly drove consumers towards more expensive services by providing ECPs with an upfront payment of sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, in exchange for promises to send business to Essilor for anywhere between three to five years. The Commissioner of the California Department of Insurance, representing the US State of California, filed a complaint in intervention in 2021. 


“This settlement is an important victory for consumers and patients who were the targets of corporate greed,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Health insurance fraud causes billions of dollars of premium losses annually, resulting in increased cost to Californians. This settlement sends a strong signal that fraudulent practices that hurt California consumers will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It also will restore key protections for eyecare patients, so they receive care and recommendations that are in their best interest.” 


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