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Company to pay $95 million for violating False Claims Act

When someone here in Wisconsin, or anywhere in the United States, learns about a person or business committing fraud against the U.S. government, he or she can file a legal claim on behalf of the government under the False Claims Act. Doing so is fairly complicated, and it can result in the accused party retaliating against the complainant, but it also can result in bringing the fraudulent party to justice.

A man who filed a False Claims Act complaint against a large pharmaceutical company just learned that he will receive a $17 million settlement for his role in holding this company accountable. The company will pay a total of $95 million to settle claims that it improperly promoted certain drugs.

The pharmaceutical company was reportedly promoting drugs that were neither approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor covered under federal health care programs. The company also was accused of promoting using these drugs at doses that exceed what is covered by federal programs, in addition to giving kickbacks to doctors who prescribe these drugs. One of the company's former sales representatives brought the fraud to light.

These are very serious claims because, of course, true and accurate marketing of prescription medication is critical in order to ensure mediciations are used not only safely, but that they also benefit the patients who use them.

Of the $95 million settlement, state Medicaid programs will get about $16.5 million, and a couple of states that were affected will each get a couple million dollars.

While this case was successful in correcting the ways of the company and rewarding the whistle-blower, many False Claims Act cases are very complex and difficult. Those who are thinking about filing a complaint under the False Claims Act may be wise to seek legal counsel to ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.

Source: Bloomberg, "Boehringer to Pay $95 Million to Resolve Drug Promotion Case," Andrew Harris, Oct. 25, 2012

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