New York, New York (PRWEB) October 30, 2013
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals against fraud, commends Mark Kirsch for successfully blowing the whistle on Kmart Corp. The Whistleblower filed charges that led the retailer to pay $2.55 million to the United States and 32 states to settle allegations that its national pharmacy centers had filed false prescription claims with various government health insurance programs, according to an Oct. 21 press release from the FBI’s Detroit division.
Kmart allegedly violated the False Claims Act by billing government health care programs (including Medicaid, Tricare, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program) for all drugs included in a prescription – even though for many prescriptions, only a portion of the prescribed drugs were actually dispensed, according to the FBI press release. The retailer allegedly would bill in full the government health care programs and return the rest of the prescription drugs to stock, the release added.
In addition to the state of Michigan, also receiving funds to be attributed to their Medicaid Programs are Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the release noted.
The settlement covers the period from Jan. 1, 2004, to Oct. 17, 2005, before Kmart was purchased by Sears Holding Corp. in November 2005, according to the release.
Mark Kirsch, a former Kmart traveling pharmacist who filed the action in Detroit in the Eastern District of Michigan, stands to receive a portion of the settlement as well, the release noted, adding that Kirsch, to settle the qui tam or “whistleblower” complaint against Kmart, will receive $309,687.
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.
“Government health care programs must be used for the benefit of the people for whom they were meant,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “The wisdom of the False Claims Act is clearly evident in cases such as this one: Whistleblowers can obtain a sizable payment and be satisfied that they have ended an alleged fraud that was supposedly ongoing.”
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