Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) November 04, 2013
The United States Department of Justice announced today that the New Jersey based pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”), has agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties to settle allegations under the False Claims Act, $149 million of which is designated to a case brought by whistleblower Bernard Lisitza.
Mr. Lisitza, represented by Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered, and Kenney & McCafferty, P.C., filed his case, U.S. ex rel. Lisitza, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., in 2003 under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) which enables private citizens to bring suit against government contractors who are alleged to be engaged in fraudulent activity. Lisitza, a pharmacist and former employee of Omnicare, Inc., the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy, alleged that from 1999 through 2004, J&J participated in a “kickbacks for switches” scheme wherein the company induced Omnicare and its team of consultant pharmacists to purchase, promote, and switch patients from physician approved medications to J&J drugs including, most notably, the atypical antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
Specifically, as detailed in the United States Complaint-in-Intervention, filed on January 15, 2010, in order to gain a competitive edge within therapeutic drug classes, J&J utilized “market share rebate” agreements, in addition to “grant” and sponsorship fees paid to Omnicare, to induce physicians to switch their nursing home patients to Risperdal from other atypical antipsychotics without regard for clinical appropriateness. Further, these inducements resulted in Omnicare consultant pharmacists engaging in “active intervention programs” wherein they would review patient charts and make recommendations to physicians about prescriptions, with a strong emphasis on J&J drugs. “J&J essentially bought their way onto Omnicare’s ‘preferred’ medications list and, as a result, turned the focus away from the best interest of the patient and towards lining corporate coffers” said Brian Kenney, founding partner of Kenney & McCafferty, P.C. “The targeting of nursing home clients, one of the most vulnerable patient populations, makes J&J’s actions particularly troubling, and Mr. Lisitza should be commended for stepping forward to bring this deeply entrenched scheme to the surface and for his commitment to a case spanning nearly a decade” Kenney continued.
Pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, J&J will pay $149 million to the United States to resolve the contentions that J&J’s kickbacks to Omnicare resulted in the submission of false claims, approximately $17 million of which is to be paid to the five intervening states, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
The federal civil investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts under the direction of United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz, Assistants George B. Henderson, II and Gregg Shapiro, and U.S. Department of Justice Civil Fraud Attorneys Laurie Oberembt, Daniel Anderson and Patrick Klein.
Case Caption: United States ex rel. Lisitza and Kammerer, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al.
Civ. No.: 07-10288, 05-11518 (D. Mass)
About Kenney & McCafferty, P.C.:
Kenney & McCafferty, P.C. is one of the most successful national law firms specializing in representing qui tam, tax and SEC whistleblowers. Kenney & McCafferty’s efforts have resulted in the recovery of more than $5 billion civil and criminal fines for the federal and state governments, resulting in the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in whistleblower rewards. Our attorneys have consistently received the highest rankings in Martindale Hubbell and been recognized as Philadelphia Superlawyers. Inquiries may be directed to Brian Kenney at (215) 367-4333, e-mail email@example.com
Additional information about the firm is available at http://www.kenneymccafferty.com.