New York, New York (PRWEB) November 14, 2013
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals against fraud, commends private citizen/whistleblower James Allen, who filed a qui tam lawsuit against Boston Scientific Corp. and subsidiaries Guidant LLC, Guidant Sales LLC and Cardiac Pacemakers Inc. (United States ex rel Allen v Guidant LLC et al, Case No. 0:11-cv-00022-DWF-AJB, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota; the lawsuit was filed on March 14, 2012). The companies have since agreed to pay $30 million to settle allegations that, between 2002 and 2005, they knowingly sold defective heart devices that were implanted into Medicare patients, according to an Oct. 17 press release from the U.S. Justice Department, which further noted that Mr. Allen gets $2.25 million as provided under the False Claims Act.
The lawsuit was filed by Mr. Allen after he was implanted with one of the defective devices, according to court documents, which noted that the Prizm 2 and the Renewal 1 and 2 were the devices alleged to be defective. The devices were designed to detect if a patient’s heart fell into an irregular rhythm, which would signify risk of cardiac arrest, according to court documents, which added that the devices were designed to then correct the heartbeat by issuing an electrical pulse to shock it back to a normal rhythm. The alleged defect, however, was that the devices were susceptible to “arcing,” said the court documents. Arcing occurs when the device detects the irregular heartbeat and delivers the shock, only instead of the current traveling to the heart, the current “arcs” back to the device itself, said the court documents, which added that this causes the device to short circuit, rendering the device ineffective.
A Boston Scientific spokesman reported that the company denies the allegations in the complaint, but decided that it would be in the best interests of all parties involved to “settle this matter and avoid further protracted litigation,” as Reuters reported on Oct. 17.
“Patients relied on these devices to potentially save their lives by preventing cardiac arrest,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “This is a great example of helping to ensure that those companies who put profits ahead of safety think twice before doing so.”
The False Claims Act allows private persons to file lawsuits on behalf of the government; such lawsuits are also known as “qui tam” actions. Under the False Claims Act, brought forth during the American Civil War, private individuals can bring lawsuits against companies and in return, receive protection and compensation. Amendments added to the Act in 1986 helped to incentivize these individuals – also called whistleblowers – by raising the amounts that can be charged for damages and penalties, which significantly enlarged the whistleblower’s slated portion. Whistleblowers can be awarded millions of dollars today – between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered.
In recent years many pharmaceutical employees have come forward to report fraudulent billing, illegal marketing techniques and undisclosed drug side effects. These whistleblowers have helped the federal government recover billions of dollars obtained illegally by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Whistleblowers also save the lives of countless prescription drug and medical device users who were previously unaware of the side effects of their device or prescription.
Anyone who possesses proof that a pharmaceutical or medical device company has engaged in some form of fraudulent activity against the federal government is encouraged to contact us. Please view our Qui Tam page or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).
Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney