May is National Bike Month, an initiative sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists to promote bike riding and, more to the point, safety while bike riding. In our state, the months of May through November are the months in which there are increased numbers of traffic collisions involving pedalists....KEEP READING
The news has been full of stories about healthcare companies, in particular drug companies, settling or losing lawsuits and paying millions in judgments. Some of these judgments were due to government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid being billed for unapproved drug applications (off-label prescribing) or other situations where a healthcare provider made a “false claim” for payment to the government.
In many of these cases, one or two employees or others close to the company “blew the whistle” on the fraudulent activity, allowing the government to collect damages. In turn, the person who came forward with the fraud was entitled to between 15 and 30 percent of any damages collected under the False Claims Act (FCA). Also known as the Whistleblower Act, Qui Tam Statute or Lincoln Law, the FCA gives any citizen the power to sue companies or individuals over financial fraud committed against the government. Whistleblowers in successful cases can receive substantial awards for their efforts.
Qui tam is the abbreviated Latin phrase that translates to whistleblowers speaking up about fraud. In May 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 90 percent of healthcare fraud cases were qui tam actions initiated by whistleblowers, known as “relators” under the FCA, on behalf of the government.
If you suspect your health-related employer is defrauding the federal government, contact the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at 888-662-0434 or locally at 803-454-1200 or online for a free evaluation of your claim. We can confidentially review the facts in your case, advise you about whether your claim has merit and inform you about how the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from retribution in the workplace — all for no charge.
Several high-profile qui tam lawsuits were settled recently, many related to pharmaceutical companies.
Physicians can prescribe drugs for off-label uses, but it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to advertise or market the drugs for uses that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Federal laws also prohibit drug companies from paying kickbacks related to prescriptions to physicians. Generally, government-funded healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid do not allow reimbursement for off-label prescriptions. When a pharmaceutical company’s illegal marketing practices cause off-label prescriptions to be written by doctors, and the government pays for those prescriptions, the payment becomes an actionable False Claims Act violation.
Recent qui tam whistleblower cases include:
If you have information about similar false claims made to government healthcare programs, you could be entitled to bring a qui tam action that could possibly result in your receiving a significant cash reward.
An experienced false claims attorney like the ones at the Louthian Law Firm can assess your case and help you file the necessary disclosure statement with the government if you have a valid case. In some instances, the government will “intervene” or take part in your lawsuit. A qualified attorney can help you structure your claims in such a way that the government will be persuaded to intervene in your case, possibly increasing the likelihood that you will recover reward money. However, even if the government doesn’t decide to intervene, it might still be advisable to pursue your case without government involvement.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at 888-662-0434 or fill out the online consultation form.