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Healthcare industry whistleblowers who brought claims under the False Claims Act ("FCA") in fiscal year 2014 received a whopping $300 million in awards.

According to Beckers Hospital Review, the largest awards went to:

 

  • The whistleblower who filed the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over its marketing of the antipsychotic prescription drug Risperdal for off-label uses. The whistleblower was originally awarded $167.7 million of the total $1.2 billion judgment against the pharmaceutical company, but the case has now been overturned.  Click here for more information about the underlying allegations in the case.

 

  • The whistleblowers who filed the lawsuit against Baton Rouge-based Amedisys, one of the country's largest providers of home health services, for allegedly violating the False Claims Act by submitting false home healthcare billings to the Medicare program.  According to the DOJ press release, the whistleblowers are all former Amedisys employees and will split a $26 million award.

 

  • The whistleblower who filed the lawsuit against Halifax Hospital Medical Center, a hospital system based in the Daytona Beach, Florida area.  Halifax agreed to pay $85 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to the Medicare program that violated the Stark Law.  According to the DOJ press release, the whistleblower was a Halifax employee and will receive a $20.8 million award.

 

Recent client alerts by McDonald Hopkins attorneys also highlight other notable FCA settlements, including: nearly $278 million against Tuomey Healthcare Systems; a $26.1 million historic settlement against a Florida
dermatologist
; and claims against physicians for purchasing imported drugs and medical devices.

 

Under the FCA, a whistleblower who provides original information can receive as much as 30% of the government's recovery.  Click here for an excellent video overview of the FCA by Bruce Reinhart, co-chair of our firm's White Collar and Government Compliance practice group. The video outlines why companies should care about the FCA and the serious financial risks it represents to companies' bottom lines.

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