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Aug 11, 2022 by |

Orange County Whistleblower Attorney: Drug Manufacturer To Pay $900 Million To Settle with False Claims Act And Unlawful Kickback Allegations

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Alleged Kickbacks To Discourage Competing Drugs

Monetary And Non-Monetary Kickbacks Alleged

Former Employee Blew Whistle

Employee and former employees of government contractors, medical service providers, drug manufacturers, and other businesses providing services paid for by the government may become aware of fraudulent claims for such government payments.  Federal law authorizes citizens to bring civil lawsuits on behalf of the government for redress against such fraud under the False Claims Act, (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq.  Historically, individuals bring more FCA enforcement efforts against companies defrauding the government than the government itself brings. FCA fraud often occurs in the healthcare sector under programs like Medicare and may involve violations of other federal laws like the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b (prohibits kickbacks for medical services referrals), and the Stark Law, 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn (prohibits physicians from referring patients to providers that the physician has a financial interest in).  FCA cases brought by individuals (referred to in the law as “relators”) are known as “qui tam actions.” The FCA authorizes awards to relators when the government recovers in a qui tam action. 31 U.S.C. §3730 (d).  Frequently, relators are current or former employees, representatives or agents of the businesses committing the alleged fraud.  If you have credible information of fraud against the government in violation of the FCA in Orange County or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent False Claims Act/Anti-Kickback Statute Case[1]

In a recently reported case, over ten years ago an employee of a large pharmaceutical company disclosed to the United States that he believed the company was improperly paying kickbacks to its largest prescribers to discourage them from prescribing competitors’ products. In a qui tam action, the employee alleged that the defendant company (his employer), in order to prevent its multiple sclerosis drugs from losing market share to newer drugs, knowingly paid its largest prescribers for services the company did not need and never intended to use, and which payments served no legitimate business purpose. For example, the company allegedly paid hundreds of its customers to provide consulting advice on topics it either could not use, or for which it already had all the information it required. Additionally, the company also allegedly paid hundreds of health care professionals to speak when there was no demand for presentations and to do so at a rate significantly exceeding the fair market value for their services.  The company also allegedly hosted events for its prescribing customer at sumptuous resorts and restaurants, where speakers and consultants were treated to lavish meals and free alcohol.

How A Qui Tam Action Begins

Individuals with original and credible information of false claims begin FCA qui tam cases by filing a complaint under seal in the federal court. At the same time, the relator submits a disclosure to the DOJ outlining the material evidence the relator has of the alleged false claims. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b). The seal period of the complaint lasts 60 days during which the DOJ investigates the claims.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(2). (If necessary, the government can, and often does, extend the 60-day period during which the allegations are kept under seal.)  If the government decides to intervene in the case, the government essentially takes over the litigation. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(1).   If the government declines to intervene, the relator may proceed with the litigation on his or her own.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(3).

Contact Us

If you have credible information of government fraud in Orange County or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at (415) 441-8669, or toll-free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267) or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  In addition to FCA and CFCA whistleblower cases, Ingrid and Evans Law Firm, Inc. also handle bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way. 

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