Posts Tagged ‘Endo’

Senator Grassley Praises the False Claims Act

Senator Chuck Grassley

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley praised the False Claims Act today on the 237 year anniversary of the passage of the country’s first whistleblower law.

On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress passed the very first whistleblower law in the United States.  It read:

[I]t is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States . . . to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.

Whistleblowers have always been crucial in helping Congress and the federal Government route out fraud and misconduct.  It is simple common sense to reward and protect whistleblowers who report waste, fraud, and abuse.  The False Claims Act does that.

Senator Grassley also mentioned the recent decision by a Pennsylvania federal court judge to give a 24-percent award to Peggy Ryan, James Hoyer client and whistleblower in the Endo Pharmaceuticals case.  The Department of Justice had requested a lower award, despite Ryan’s extraordinary efforts in the case.  The judge and Senator Grassley were critical of DOJ’s stance:

Just recently the Justice Department tried to minimize a relator award in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud suit.  The relator contributed significantly to the case.  The Judge recognized that Congress intended that “the only measuring stick” for an award is “the contribution of the relator.”

That Judge was right.  Congress intended to empower, protect, and reward relators who identify fraud against the taxpayers.  History teaches us that weakening the relator’s rights weakens the government’s ability to fight fraud.  All that does is let wrongdoers off the hook and cost the taxpayers money.  That is not the result we intended with the False Claims Act.  It is also not the result the Continental Congress, so concerned about identifying “misconduct, frauds and misdemeanors,” would have wanted.

Senator Grassley spoke passionately about the value of whistleblowers and how their efforts help the American government and taxpayers:

In Fiscal Year 2014 alone, the federal Government recovered nearly $6 billion under the Act.  That makes more than $22 billion since January 2009, and more than $42 billion since 1986.  These recoveries represent victories across a wide array of industries and government programs.  Those programs include mortgage insurance, federal student aid, and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Defense contracts.

The Department of Justice credits whistleblowers for their important role in this success.
According to the Justice Department, whistleblowers accounted for $3 billion in recoveries under the Act in Fiscal Year 2014.  In fact, over 80% of False Claims Act cases are initiated by whistleblowers.  Clearly the False Claims Act is working very well.

Of course, the Act has no shortage of critics—typically the groups where you find perpetrators of fraud.  But we have learned our lesson that a weak False Claims Act is not in the taxpayer’s best interest.

In 1943, Congress bowed to pressure to undo the Act’s crucial qui tam provisions.
Amendments passed back then barred actions where the Government already had knowledge of the fraud.  The result was to block nearly all private actions.  Congress assumed that the Justice Department could do a good job prosecuting fraud all by itself.  They were wrong.
Between 1943 and 1986, fraud against the Government skyrocketed.  Most of those accused went unpunished.

Click here to read the complete statement by Senator Grassley.

 

James Hoyer Cases Among Largest False Claims Settlements of 2014

peggy-ryan-endo-150sq

Peggy Ryan

A James Hoyer case tops the list of the 10 largest False Claims, Stark Law, and Anti-Kickback settlements of 2014, as compiled by Becker’s Hospital Review.  Endo Pharmaceuticals $193-million settlement with the federal government for off-label marketing of its Lidoderm pain patch comes in at number one.  James Hoyer client Peggy Ryan is the whistleblower who first exposed the massive fraud.

Coming in at number four on the list is another James Hoyer case in which we served as co-counsel, the $85 million Halifax Hospital settlement.

Becker’s reports this year is on track to be a record-breaking one for government recoveries in the healthcare industry. These two James Hoyer cases and several others settled this year have contributed substantially to the return of taxpayer dollars.  The False Claims Act allows private citizens to bring civil actions on behalf of the federal government to recover money when fraud is suspected.

Here are the top four settlement recoveries so far in 2014, as compiled by Becker’s Hospital Review:

1. (James Hoyer Case) Endo Health Solutions — a pharmaceutical company — and its subsidiary, Endo Pharmaceuticals, agreed to pay $192.7 million to resolve criminal and civil claims stemming from Endo’s marketing of Liboderm for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The settlement included a deferred prosecution agreement and forfeiture totaling $20.8 million and $171.9 million to be paid to the federal government, the states and the District of Columbia.

2. Baton Rouge, La.-based Amedisys, one of the country’s largest providers of home health services, and its affiliates agreed to pay $150 million to resolve allegations brought under the False Claims Act, Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. The lawsuit filed against Amedisys was brought under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provision of the False Claims Act by former employees of the company. The lawsuit alleged Amedisys submitted improper claims to Medicare for reimbursement from 2008 to 2010 for therapy and nursing services that were medically unnecessary or provided to patients who were not homebound. The lawsuit also alleged the company engaged in improper financial relationships with referring physicians.

3. Cincinnati, Ohio-based Omnicare — the nation’s largest provider of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services to nursing homes — agreed to pay $124.24 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims and Anti-Kickback Statute. The government alleged Omnicare offered improper financial incentives to skilled nursing facilities in return for their continued selection of Omnicare to supply drugs to elderly Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The government also alleged the improper relationship resulted in Omnicare and the facilities submitting fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare and Medicaid.

4. (James Hoyer Case) Daytona, Fla.-based Halifax Hospital Medical Center and Halifax Staffing agreed to pay $85 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act and the Stark Law. The government alleged Halifax knowingly violated the Stark Law by executing contracts with six medical oncologists that included an incentive bonus that improperly included the value of prescription drugs and tests the oncologists ordered and Halifax billed to Medicare. The government also alleged Halifax knowingly violated the Stark Law by paying three neurosurgeons more than fair market value for their work, and the hospital admitted patients who did not need to be admitted, then billed Medicare for their care.

Click her to read the entire list.

 

 

James Hoyer Whistleblower Case Leads to $193 Million Settlement with Endo Pharmaceuticals

Endo Health Solutions and its subsidiary Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will pay $192.7 million to settle civil and criminal charges stemming from a whistleblower case that the company illegally marketed a pain treatment patch called Lidoderm.  The settlement comes after an Endo insider blew the whistle on the company’s efforts to market Lidoderm off-label, for uses far beyond its approved indication. Read More…