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Things to Remember

This is a complicated field of law: choose a lawyer with experience of the False Claims Act.

You may not be the only person with this information: once you decide to go forward, do so without delay.  If someone files a case before yours, you may be too late.

You may be tempted to go to the newspapers with your information: do not make your information public if you wish to file a case.

The False Claims Act only covers fraud on the government: if it is not public money, it is not a False Claims Act case.

Kickbacks and False CLaims Act, Delaney Kester LLP, Boston, California

Kickbacks and False Claims Act

The Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b), prohibits the payment or acceptance of payment to induce or reward any person for referring, recommending or arranging for the purchase of any item for which payment may be made under a federally-funded health care program. Thus the mere offer of a bribe is illegal under the statute.  Offenses under the Anti-Kickback Statute also implicate the False Claims Act, because in theory any bill presented to a government healthcare program that has resulted from the payment of a kickback is artificially inflated by the cost of the bribe.

Kickbacks take many forms; indeed the form is perhaps the least important aspect of the bribe.  The following may all be kickbacks if the intent is to induce a false claim on the government: educational grants; speaking fees; all-expenses-paid retreats; preceptorships; gifts e.g. free computers; and undisclosed discounts.

Our attorneys have represented whistleblowers in successful kickbacks cases, for example United States, et al. Collins v. Pfizer Inc., Civil Action No.04-11780-DPW (D. Mass.), in which the Department of Justice settled our client’s allegations of nationwide kickback scheme to induce the prescribing of some of Pfizer’s blockbuster drugs including Lipitor, Norvasc and Viagra.  This case, along with a number of other qui tam suits, settled for a record-breaking criminal fine of $1.3 billion and a civil settlement of $1 billion.

The case of United States ex rel Kassie Westmoreland v Amgen et al., (Civil Action No. 06-10972-WGY) alleged that the “overfill” in the vials of Amgen’s blockbuster Aranesp, was used as a “liquid kickback” in a nationwide scheme spanning an entire decade.  That case has been settled in principle along with a series of other qui tam cases for a total of $780 million

 

 





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