Health Care Fraud: Sales Force Manipulation

In a recent article written by Bernard Vaughan and Jonathan Stempel entitled: U.S. sues Novartis, alleging kickbacks to pharmacies, Reuters reported that US government accuses Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. of paying kickbacks to pharmacies to switch kidney transplant patients from competitors’ drugs to its own and to oppose the use of a cheaper, generic immunosuppressant drug.

Since 2005 at least 20 pharmacies have got illicit payments from Novaris AG, a Swiss drug maker, to push up sales of its immunosuppressant drug Myfortic, said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

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$ 3.5 Million Award for Wrongful Termination

In a recent article posted on The Employment Law Group Blog entitled: Federal Jury Awards Whistleblower $3.5 Million in Alaska Retaliation Case, is reported that a federal jury awarded Paul Blakeslee $3.5 million because of the illicit activity of his former employer. As it was proved, Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc fired Paul Blakeslee for reporting suspicious dealings by a manager of the company’s maintenance work on Alaskan military bases.

According to Mr. Blakeslee’s lawyers, the verdict included $2.5 million in punitive damages becoming so one of the largest judicial decisions in an employment case in Alaska history. It also may happen that after supplemental awards by the court, the final value of the verdict will pass $4 million.

Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc is a Louisiana-based contractor for the U.S. Army. The jury came to the conclusion that Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc fired Paul Blakeslee for reporting that the other manager was billing the Army at inflated rates for equipment leased from his own company. Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc stated the firing was independent, but the jury called it retaliation and said it violated the False Claims Act.

The question of discrimination was also raised in the court. As Mr. Blakeslee was 71 at the time he was fired, the jury accused Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc of age discrimination against Paul Blakeslee.

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Hospice of the Comforter Inc. Charged With Medicare Fraud

 

In an article posted on The Employment Law Group Blog entitle:  Justice Department Joins False Claims Act Medicare Fraud Lawsuit, it was reported that the Justice Department will join the False Claims Act qui tam lawsuit filed against Hospice of the Comforter Inc. (HOTCI) by Douglas Stone, HOTCI’s former vice-president of finance. Stone’s suit alleges that HOTCI engaged in fraudulent Medicare billing.

Allegedly the Company’s CEO had verbally directed employees to admit for hospice care patients with Medicare coverage without first fully qualifying whether in fact those patients were eligible for hospice benefits.  After performing an audit, the Company had to discharge at least 150 patients after determining that they were not eligible for Medicare hospice benefits.