What was the lawsuit about?
Pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $3
billion in fines to settle criminal and civil violations.
This is the largest health care fraud settlement to date in
the United States. The qui tam portion of
the civil lawsuit arose under the False Claims Act and is
said to be worth over $1 billion. At issue in the civil suit
were claims relating to the company's medications, including Paxil,
Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, Zofran, Imitrex, Lotronex, Flovent,
Valtrex, and Avandia. The alleged violations included
promoting the medications for off-label marketing and unapproved
purposes, misleading reports on treatment guidelines, false
representations of drug safety, reporting false drug prices, and
kickbacks paid to promote the drugs. As a result, claims
based on these activities were submitted to the federal government in violation of the
False Claims Act.
What happened in the qui tam lawsuit?
The suit involved a number of different issues brought together
from various lawsuits. In the case of promoting unapproved
uses and kickbacks, four independently-filed, qui tam
lawsuits were consolidated into a single suit.
Once filed, a host of federal agencies investigated the fraud
including: the Department of Health and Human Services, the
Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Defense, the Office
of Personnel Management, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the
Department of Labor, TRICARE Program Integrity, the U.S. Postal
Service, and the FBI. The civil suit involved three specific
types of alleged fraud: the qui tam claims of off-label/non-covered
promotion of medication and kickbacks to doctors for prescriptions;
making false and misleading safety statements about Avandia; and
reporting false best prices, which led to underpaying Medicaid
What does the settlement mean for the FCA, Qui Tam
lawyers, and whistleblowers?
The qui tam portion of the lawsuit settled for over $1 billion,
of which individual whistleblowers
from the four original suits may receive a portion. The U.S.
Department of Justice is calling this settlement "part of the
government's emphasis on combating health care fraud
and another step for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and
Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative." The HEAT
initiative was set up specifically to combat Medicare and Medicaid
fraud, resulting in over ten billion dollars in recoveries
since 2009. A main driver of the suits filed through the HEAT
initiative is the FCA, meaning that
qui tam lawyers will see increased business as whistleblowers
stand to recover a significant amount of money in rewards for
filing qui tam lawsuits.
Contact Us To Learn More
We invite you to learn more from our Whistleblowers,
Qui Tam & False Claims Act Practice Group. For more
information or to schedule a confidential discussion about a
potential whistleblower case, please fill out
the form on the right. You can also call us at (215) 875-4699.
For further reading:
What is the
False Claims Act?
Life of a Qui Tam Lawsuit and Why You Want the Government to
Provision of the False Claims Act
Affordable Care Act: Do I Have a Whistleblower Case if Fraud
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