Defense Attorneys Discuss Reporting Pharmaceutical Fraud
Information can be valuable; it just has to be in the right hands. This summary is designed for people that have information or knowledge about fraud in the pharmaceutical industry.
What is Pharmaceutical Fraud?
Pharmaceutical fraud comes in many forms: illegal promotion of prescription drugs, failure to report safety data, bribing doctors, and promoting medicines for uses for which they were not licensed. The most common fraud schemes are kickbacks, whereby rewards such as referrals, luxury items, plane tickets, vacations, lavish gifts, or cash are given to entice doctors to use specific medical services. While some kickbacks are rather small and isolated, kickback schemes often reveal a more organized and widespread abuse of the law. In the pharmaceutical industry, the most common kickback is for a company to pay a physician in return for prescriptions or the use of a particular drug.
Another common pharmaceutical fraud act is called off-label marketing. The Food and Drug Administration prohibits drug manufacturers from marketing or promoting a drug for a use that the FDA has not approved. A drug is deemed misbranded when the drug’s labeling includes information that is not approved. Drugs that are closely scrutinized by the FDA include experimental drugs, generic drugs and, increasingly, dietary supplements.
What Should I Do with the Fraud Information I Have?
If you have information about described pharmaceutical fraud schemes, such as kickbacks, off labels, and misuse of brands, you may be entitled to a monetary reward for reporting and sharing your knowledge and insights with a health care fraud defense attorney who can then help you to report this information to the government.
What Happens When I Report?
Once you consult with an experienced fraud defense lawyer about the merits and the evidence of your pharmaceutical fraud case, the attorney will file a sealed whistleblower lawsuit in federal court and inform the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice about the misconduct. Under the False Claims Act, federal prosecutors will examine the case on behalf of the government and together with your defense attorney, plan a strategy to collect the statutes penalties and civil rewards for the reporting client.
What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act, also known as whistleblower statute, is a federal statute that rewards individuals with knowledge about fraud against the government. Typically, individuals can expect 15% to 30% of the total collection if the government intervenes or 25% to 30% if the government does not intervene and the case is pursued solely by the whistleblower’s legal team.
How We Can Help You Collect Your Reward
Although no official numbers exist, insiders estimate that only 20% of all filed qui tam lawsuits are being supported and investigated by government officials. In fact, the process of filing a qui tam or whistleblower lawsuit is complicated. Since you will only have one chance, it is important to hire knowledgeable health care fraud defense lawyers that have experience with this area of law and know exactly how to draft and put together a complaint under the False Claims Act that will spark the government’s interest.
The Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has the unique experience and insights of processing whistleblower lawsuits with its former federal prosecutors and health care fraud defense experience. Lynette S. Byrd, during her tenure at the Department of Justice, collected millions of dollars on behalf of the federal government in these types of cases. She is highly capable in evaluating your case and putting it in the right hands. Contact us to speak with an experienced lawyer.