The whistleblower attorneys at Goldberg Kohn are committed to fighting fraud against the government and protecting the rights of whistleblowers. Below are summaries of recent developments pertaining to whistleblower, qui tam, and False Claims Act actions throughout the United States.
Dinesh Thakur – the former Ranbaxy employee who blew the whistle on fraud and other wrongdoing at the company – was named “Whistleblower of the Year” by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Educational Fund (TAF)
TAF, a public interest group combating fraud against the U.S. government, honored Thakur at its annual conference last month. TAF recognized and commended Mr. Thakur for his eight year involvement in uncovering and reporting evidence showing that “certain lots of specific drugs produced [at multiple Ranbaxy facilities in India] were defective, in that their strength differed from, or their purity or quality fell below, that which they purported to possess.”
Shortly after Mr. Thakur began working for Ranbaxy, he became aware of signs of drug quality problems and noticed that data on generic anti-retroviral drugs distributed in Africa that “appeared to be fabricated.” After several months spent documenting the fraud, Mr. Thakur realized that the problem permeated “hundreds of drugs, dozens of countries… [in a systematic] pattern of missing and fabricated data, substandard ingredients and cGMP violations.” Mr. Thakur’s assistance resulted in the assessment of a $500-million fine against Ranbaxy in June 2013.
Mr. Thakur’s involvement in the case is especially commendable given that, at the time he reported his concerns, there were no laws in India to prevent against retaliation.
Omnicare Inc., the nation’s biggest dispenser of prescription drugs in nursing homes, has agreed to pay $120 million to settle allegations that kickbacks were given to facilities in return for more patient referrals.
Specifically, Omnicare is accused of giving steep discounts for prescription drugs to nursing homes for some Medicare patients in exchange for the referrals of other patients at higher prices paid for by the federal government.
The lawsuit was initiated by Donald Gale, an Ohio pharmacist who worked for Omnicare from 1993 until 2010, who stands to receive between 25 and 30 percent of the settlement – or up to $36 million.
Earlier this year, Omnicare agreed to pay $16.7 million to settle allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims tainted by Anti-Kickback Statute violations. That lawsuit was brought by Goldberg Kohn whistleblower attorneys.
Discount retail chain Kmart has agreed to pay $2.55 million to settle allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act
Allegations were made that Kmart violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicaid, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and other health programs for all drugs included in a prescription even when it dispensed only part of the prescribed drugs.
Hospice of the Comforter, the largest provider of end-of-care life in Central Florida, is embroiled in a bitter dispute – and not just with the federal government, which has accused the company of Medicare fraud.
The faith-based nonprofit organization’s former vice president of finance, Doug Stone, filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that the company was taking millions of dollars in Medicare payments to provide care to patients who weren't actually terminally ill.
But what has angered many Florida residents the most is that the government has agreed to let Hospice off the hook for a mere $3 million despite the fact that the organization has been accused of defrauding the government – and thereby taxpayers – of more than $10 million. The article’s author, a former supporter of Hospice, is enraged that Hospice will be allowed to keep its doors open and is only being asked to repay a fraction of the organization’s ill-gotten gains. Not only do whistleblowers deserve their just reward, but the taxpayers deserve to be “made whole” and healthcare companies should be “scared of filing false claims.”
Please contact us at (312) 863-7222 if you would like to learn more about any of the aforementioned whistleblower news updates or would like to schedule a free, confidential appointment with one of our nationally recognized whistleblower attorneys.