Posts Tagged ‘Peggy Ryan’

Truth in Media Investigates Big Pharma

Judy pic - Truth in MediaThe online news website Truth in Media just finished a series of reports on Big Pharma. It’s a fascinating look at how the pharmaceutical industry has manipulated the system to increase sales and profits.

Part 4 of the series highlights the case of Endo pharmaceuticals and its orphan drug Lidoderm.  The James Hoyer Law Firm represented whistleblower Peggy Ryan in the case against Endo.  The False Claims Act suit ended with Endo paying $193-million to the government in a settlement for off-label marketing.

James Hoyer founding partner and former federal prosecutor Judy Hoyer was interviewed for the report.  Watch it below.

 

James Hoyer Law Firm Named Whistleblower Lawyers of the Year

TAF Award Group Picture

The James Hoyer team at the TAF Awards Dinner

James Hoyer is honored to have been named Whistleblower Lawyers of the Year by the Taxpayers Against Fraud or “TAF.”  TAF is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to combating fraud against the government and protecting public resources headquartered in Washington, D.C.

James Hoyer client Peggy Ryan, whistleblower in the off-label marketing case against Endo Pharmaceuticals, was also named Whistleblower of the Year. The Endo case resulted in a $192.7 million settlement for both criminal and civil charges that the company illegally marketed a pain treatment patch called Lidoderm.

“Together, Ryan and her legal team were instrumental in bringing a $193 million dollar case against Endo Pharmaceuticals to resolution, while notching an important victory in the battle for full, fair and justified whistleblower awards,” TAF wrote in its announcement of the award. (Click here to read details on the announcement on TAF’s website.)

Hoyer Accepting Award

Chris Hoyer Accepting Award

“This is an honor we are very proud to accept as advocates fighting to hold companies accountable when they commit fraud against the government,” said Chris Hoyer, founding partner of the James Hoyer law firm. “Too often, American citizens pay the price when companies try to game the system for profit. The False Claims Act gives whistleblowers the power to fight back on behalf of all taxpayers.”

Peggy Ryan was an Endo sales representative hired to sell Lidoderm, a pain patch approved to treat a shingles complication. She became concerned when the company pressured her to sell the drug off-label. Ryan took her concerns to the government in 2005 and assisted the investigation by turning over hundreds of documents and internal voicemails. She also agreed to wear a wire for the FBI, providing government investigators and prosecutors with more than 200 hours of recorded conversations, including incriminating statements by Endo management.

Ms. Ryan was humbled to receive this award. “It’s not an easy decision to become a whistleblower, but it’s even harder to look away when you know wrongs are being committed. Ten years was a long time to see this through, but it was important to do the right thing,” Ms. Ryan said.

“Peggy Ryan was a tireless advocate for the taxpayer,” Hoyer said. “The courage it takes for an

Adam, Chris & Jesse Hoyer

Adam, Chris & Jesse Hoyer

employee to come forward and risk her career to do the right thing is rare and something we all should celebrate.”

In announcing this year’s award, TAF also pointed to the decision by Judge Robert Kelly to award Ms. Ryan close to the maximum reward for her contributions. She received 24% of the civil portion of the settlement, which amounted to $33.6 million. The judge sent a message with his decision as to how important the role of a whistleblower can be in stopping fraud and returning money to the taxpayers. The judge noted the contributions of Ms. Ryan and her legal team in the Endo case were “nothing short of extraordinary.”

An internal documentary produced by the James Hoyer law firm on the Endo case was instrumental in moving the case forward.  Watch the video below to see a video clip from the documentary.

More pictures from the awards dinner are below:

TAF Linclon

Al Scudieri & Elaine Stromgren

Al Scudieri & Elaine Stromgren

Chris Hoyer & Jillian Estes

Chris Hoyer & Jillian Estes

Chris Hoyer, Angie Moreschi, Jesse Hoyer, Jillian Estes & Adam Hoyer

Chris Hoyer, Angie Moreschi, Jesse Hoyer, Jillian Estes & Adam Hoyer

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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.

 

$33.6 Million Whistleblower Award for James Hoyer Client

RyanPic3-MS_at_Lake_2012

Peggy Ryan

In a striking decision, Endo Pharmaceuticals former employee Peggy Ryan was granted a whistleblower award close to the maximum percentage that a whistleblower can receive in a False Claims Act case. United States District Court Judge Robert Kelly in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that Ryan is entitled to a 24-percent share of the federal government’s portion of a settlement reached in 2014. The whistleblower reward amounts to $33.6 million for Ryan, a client of the James Hoyer law firm.

For her efforts, the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund named Peggy Ryan Whistleblower of the Year in 2015.  Click here to read the announcement on TAF’s website.  James Hoyer was also named Whistleblower Lawyers of the Year.

Decision Marks Strong Stand for Whistleblowers

“Judge Kelly’s decision is not only a testament to Peggy’s commitment in this decade-long case, but also reaffirms the value of all whistleblowers and the False Claims Act as the government’s most powerful tool in fighting fraud,” said James Hoyer law firm managing partner Chris Casper.

The Court called Ryan’s efforts “nothing short of extraordinary” in explaining his decision. “Without the assistance of Ryan, the probability of the Government recovering any funds for the FCA violations would have been slim at best.”

The government disputed that Ryan should be entitled to 24 percent, instead arguing she should receive only 19 percent of the federal recovery. Judge Kelly sharply disagreed and indicated the government’s attempt to minimize Ryan’s significant contribution was misguided. “In light of the nature and abundance of her contributions, it is clear that Ryan was indispensable to the investigation.”

Extraordinary Contribution

The case was first filed by Ryan, a pharmaceutical rep for Endo, in 2005, after she felt the company unduly pressured her to sell the Lidoderm patch off-label for unapproved uses. She showed remarkable strength and commitment over the past 10 years, helping the government make its case.

Ryan provided insider testimony, crucial documents and analysis, and even wore a wire for the FBI. “Throughout the nine-year period from her first qui tam complaint in 2005 to the settlement in 2014, Ryan continually provided access behind the corporate walls of Endo. Ryan’s insider status, conferred by her employment with Endo, enabled the government investigatory team to recover evidence which would have otherwise been unobtainable,” Judge Kelly explained.

In addition to “hours of incriminating evidence” recorded by Ryan and a bounty of invaluable documents, Judge Kelly also cited an 18-minute documentary produced by the James Hoyer law firm, which summarized the evidence in the Endo case, as a unique tool that helped to drive the case when it began to lag in 2010.

“An examination of the record exhibits that Ryan provided not only the spark for the investigation, but that she nurtured the flame at the darkest times when the possibility of a favorable outcome seemed most remote,” Judge Kelly wrote.

The Court’s decision on Ryan’s whistleblower award came exactly 10 years and 10 days after she first filed the case. “It has been a long and sometimes difficult road, but we are gratified that Peggy’s efforts to do the right thing are being recognized in such an extraordinary way,” said attorney Casper. “We are hopeful this decision will encourage other insiders with information regarding fraud against the government to come forward on behalf of American taxpayers. “It’s not easy to be a whistleblower,” he added, “but this decision shows their efforts are valued.”

Read more on the whistleblower award and the Court’s decision from ReutersCorporate Crime Reporter, The Legal Intelligencer, and USDC – Memorandum by Judge Robert F. Kelly, Sr.

 

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.