Texas Medicaid Fraud Attorney at Brewer & Pritchard, P.C., Weighs in on $56.5 Million Settlement Involving Alleged False Claims Act Violations

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Whistleblower attorney J. Mark Brewer praises the actions of the former executive and former sales representatives for Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC.

We know how difficult it can be to blow the whistle on a large corporation, and we commend the four people who decided to take legal action against Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Medicaid fraud attorney J. Mark Brewer of Brewer & Pritchard, P.C., today said a recent $56.5 million settlement involving allegations of fraud by Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC illustrates how a whistleblower’s action can make a significant difference.

According to a Sept. 24, 2014, U.S. Department of Justice news release,* Shire Pharmaceuticals allegedly violated the False Claims Act and was charged with unlawfully promoting five of its drugs: Adderall XR, Vyvanse, Daytrana, Lialda and Pentasa. Drug makers are prohibited from marketing their products for “off-label” uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only. There has been no determination of liability).

The news release states that the allegations came to light as a result of two separate lawsuits.** One was filed by former Shire executive Dr. Gerardo Torres. Another suit was filed by former Shire sales representatives Anita Hsieh, Kara Harris and Ian Clark, according to the Department of Justice.

The False Claims Act’s whistleblower’s provisions permit private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The Department of Justice states that Torres will receive $5.9 million.

“At Brewer & Pritchard, we represent whistleblowers who step forward to shed light on wrongdoing by companies,” said Brewer, a Medicaid fraud attorney with 33½ years’ experience. “We know how difficult it can be to blow the whistle on a large corporation, and we commend the four people who decided to take legal action against Shire Pharmaceuticals. Their cases are about more than money. They’re about sending a message that the alleged unlawful behavior by a corporation will not be tolerated. If a company promotes a drug for uses not approved by the FDA, there is a risk of injury to patients. Hopefully, this settlement will deter other corporations.”

According to an Oct. 1, 2014, report in the San Antonio Business Journal,* states will share a portion of the Shire settlement. Texas’ share amounts to $4.78 million.

According to the Department of Justice, the agency has recovered more than $22.4 billion through False Claims Act cases since January 2009. More than $14.2 billion of that amount was recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.

According to a March 2013 report* by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, titled “Fighting Medicaid Fraud in Texas,” Texas recovered more than $821 million between 2006 and 2012 for state and federal taxpayers through enforcement of the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act (TMFPA) and the False Claims Act.

“Whistleblowers have played a critical role in these recoveries, with over $800 million of the $821 million in total recoveries stemming from whistleblower-initiated cases,” according to the report.

“Clearly, the numbers show how important whistleblowers are when it comes to holding corporations accountable,” Brewer said. “If you suspect Medicaid fraud – whether you work in a billing department or you are an executive – we urge you to contact us for a free consultation. A whistleblower lawyer can protect your rights.”

  • Sources

The Sept. 24, 2014, Department of Justice news release cited is “Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC to Pay $56.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Relating to Drug Marketing and Promotion Practices.”

The Oct. 1, 2014, San Antonio Business Journal article cited is “Medicaid fraud case nets Texas $4.78 million.”

The Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund report cited is “Fighting Medicaid Fraud in Texas,” March 2013

** Court Cases
The lawsuits cited are United States ex rel. Torres v. Shire Specialty Pharmaceuticals, et al., No. 08-4795 (E.D. Pa.) and United States ex rel. Hsieh, Harris, and Clark v. Shire PLC, et al., No. 09-6994 (N.D. Ill.).

About Brewer & Pritchard, P.C.

Serving clients throughout Texas and across the country, the attorneys at Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. have a well-earned reputation for being knowledgeable, experienced lawyers focused on results. The Houston law firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Medicaid fraud, whistleblower claims, business law, corporate law, mergers, acquisitions and other legal issues. Our law firm discretely investigates every case and respect’s our clients’ privacy. Not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

For more information about what to do if you suspect fraud activity at your company and the legal options available to whistleblowers, call (713) 209-2950 or complete the online contact form.

Brewer & Pritchard, P.C.
3 Riverway #1800
Houston, Texas 77056
(713) 209-2950

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