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Pharmaceutical Whistle Blower Settlement

William Davis and Spencer Miller filed a federal false claim whistle blower lawsuit against Amgen, Inc. They have received 2.75 Million as a result of their settlement with the company. The federal government will receive the balance of 15 Million. The case arose out of allegations that Amgen, a biopharmaceutical company, provided illegal financial benefits and incentives to doctors, including physician groups. Allegedly, these kickbacks were paid in order to induce the doctors to prescribe a cancer drug call Xgeva.

Danz & Associates salutes each of the successful attorneys representing the US Department of Justice and the qui tam whistle blowers. Having litigated numerous qui tam cases (on behalf of both the federal government and the State of California), we are keenly aware of the intricacies of the partnership with our brethren in the attorney general’s offices. Numerous complex decisions and timing issues arise in qui tam litigation, including whether to report alleged fraud to the company prior to advising governmental agencies. A false step can deny the relator (the person bringing us the information regarding the claim) the standing he or she needs as “original source”.

There continues to remain a major hurdle to successfully prosecuting qui tam cases, especially in the health care industry. The recent case of US (and numerous states) vs GlaxoSmith Kline LLC (1:06-cv-06047-BMC) resulted in a court-ordered dismissal because the relator (party representing the US) did not have sufficient “time date and place” allegations to support the complaint. The original lawsuit alleged violations of the Federal health Care Program Anti-Kickback Statute, which forbids persons from receiving kickbacks to induce business where the ultimate payor is a federal or state health care program. the plaintiff alleged that the defendant paid doctors money to prescribe HIB medications Epzicom and Trivzir. This case illustrates the critical importance of meeting with counsel before leaving employment and filing the lawsuit, so that proper documentation can be provided to the US Attorney’s Office in support of the claim. Health care cases involve tricky issues of HIPPA compliance and numerous trade secret issues.Don’t let your claim be dismissed for failure to state particulars.

There has been an explosion in whistle blower cases in the last few years, due in no small part to several new legislative initiatives such as the Dodd Frank Act, Sarbanes Oxley, and others. Seek legal advise immediately if you are aware of a false claim being committed by your employer. Our employees have come to us from the transportation, education, financial services, aerospace, health care, food services, insurance, and numerous other industries. With our team approach, and co counseling relationships we are bound to have knowledge in your field.