Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General’

Generic Drug Price Fixing

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong interviewed on 60 Minutes

If you ever wondered why the price of generic drugs is getting so expensive, 60 Minutes gave us an inside look at the problem on its Sunday broadcast. The CBS program profiled the on-going battle of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong to hold big pharma accountable.

Connecticut and more than 40 other states filed a sweeping lawsuit accusing the biggest generic drug makers of engaging in an “industry-wide conspiracy” to fix the prices of generic drugs. They allege there is a massive, systematic scheme to bilk consumers and the government out of billions of dollars.

Based on evidence like text messages, emails, phone records, and documents, the prosecutors say sudden, dramatic, price spikes can be tied to drug makers colluding to profiteer, not a shortage of drugs. In a word “greed.”

The price hikes have affected 100’s of different, everyday prescriptions, driving up the costs for health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. With 90-percent of all prescriptions filled with generic drugs, the impact on everyday American lives has been overwhelming.

Drug makers deny any wrong-doing and insist they will fight the lawsuits vigorously. Click here to watch the 60 Minutes report.


Lynch Expected To Be Confirmed Today

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After five months, Loretta Lynch is one vote away from confirmation.

The Senate voted 66-34 to move to a final vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next United States Attorney General and first African-American female to fill the position. Read More…


One Step Closer: Senate Committee Greenlights Lynch for US Attorney General

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The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to approve Loretta Lynch as the next United States Attorney General.  If confirmed, Lynch will succeed soon-to-be resigned Eric Holder and would become the first African-American female to fill that position.  Lynch earned votes from all nine Democratic senators on the committee, as well as three cross-over votes from Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-Az).

Flake, one of the Republicans to cross party lines, stated, “I’ve always felt that it’s my position here to try to determine if somebody’s qualified for the position, not if I agree with every position that they take.  I think she is eminently qualified.”  Of note, Senator Chuck Grassley, who co-sponsored the modern False Claims Act, opposed her nomination.

The next step towards confirmation of President Obama’s nomination will be a full vote by the Senate, expected in late March.  Lynch will once again require bipartisan support, needing support from at least four Republicans to trigger a tiebreaker vote by Vice President Joe Biden, or five Republican votes to reach a simple minority without Biden’s vote.  Lynch is expected to obtain the votes she needs to get through the Senate vote, but has faced increasing opposition in recent weeks related to her statements in support of President Obama’s immigration reform actions.

We will continue to monitor and post about the process of confirming the next U.S. Attorney General.


Who Will Replace Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States?

Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder

On Thursday, September 25, the United States Department of Justice announced that Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States of America, would be resigning as soon as a successor was confirmed.  Holder has been the Attorney General since 2009, when he took over the Department of Justice’s top position from Michael Mukasey.  Holder has been a proponent of the False Claims Act, overseeing the largest recoveries in FCA history and recently pushing for larger rewards to whistleblowers under FIRREA (a whistleblower act specifically addressing financial institutions and Wall Street).  Under Holder’s leadership, the Department of Justice has recovered more than $20 billion from False Claims Act cases, with more than $14 billion of that from healthcare cases.

The position of Attorney General is tremendously important to the False Claims Act industry because, as the nation’s top prosecutor, the Attorney General is ultimately responsible for all decisions of the Department of Justice.  It is imperative that Holder’s successor values the contributions of False Claims Act whistleblowers and continues to dedicate Department of Justice resources to prosecuting these cases.  False Claims Act cases are undeniably stronger when the government intervenes and pushes the litigation forward, so the strength of future cases will depend largely on the priorities of the next Attorney General.

Many names have been thrown around as successor options, including apparent front-runners Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Solicitor General Don Verrilli, former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  The ultimate choice, however, is up to President Barack Obama and he has not yet named his top choice.  Once President Obama nominates an individual as Holder’s successor, he or she will face a rigorous confirmation hearing by Congress.  With midterm elections looming in November and a possible change in the Senate and House majorities, it is likely – though not certain – that President Obama will make the nomination before November.

As the field of potential candidates narrows, we will follow the story and post our findings on each potential nominee’s False Claims Act background.  We are very hopeful that the next Attorney General will see as much success and forward-movement in the False Claims Act as Holder has during his tenure.