Whistleblowers can receive from 15% to 30% of the amount recovered by the government; the exact amount depends on certain variables, including whether the government intervened in the case and the extent to which the whistleblower contributed.
New York, New York (PRWEB) October 09, 2013
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that represents whistleblowers in qui tam cases, is looking to educate whistleblowers in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries about the financial opportunities federal law provides for them.
In recent years many pharmaceutical employees have come forward to report fraudulent billing, illegal marketing techniques and undisclosed drug side effects. These people – known as whistleblowers – have helped the federal government recover billions of dollars obtained illegally by pharmaceutical companies. Whistleblowers have also helped save the lives of countless prescription drug and medical device users who were previously unaware of the side effects of their device or prescription.
Specifically, it is the False Claims Act that provides whistleblowers with protection, as well as the opportunity to be compensated for their efforts. The Act was passed in 1863 during the Civil War, but it was amendments to the Act, which were added in 1986, that helped incentivize whistleblowers to come forward. It did so primarily by raising the amounts for damages and penalties; whistleblowers can be awarded millions of dollars today.
In fact, whistleblowers can receive from 15% to 30% of the amount recovered by the government; the exact amount depends on certain variables, including whether the government intervened in the case and the extent to which the whistleblower contributed.
One recent example from the medical device industry is the case of Medtronic, which was named in a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the medical device manufacturer was paying a spine surgeon, who also was an editor of a medical journal, to promote its Infuse bone growth device. Joanne Hartwig filed the lawsuit to recover damages arising out of alleged false claims presented, and supposedly concealed, by Medtronic against Medicare, Medicaid and various health care programs administered by the United States. The lawsuit was filed on July 8, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson Division (Case No. 3:11-cv-00413-CWR-LRA), entitled USA Ex Rel. Joanne Hartwig vs. Medtronic, Inc. et.al.
According to the Complaint, specifically, Dr. Thomas Zdeblick, the editor previously mentioned, worked at the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques, where he published articles “touting the benefits of Infuse while allowing researchers to conceal their financial relationships with the device maker.” Zdeblick, who was also the inventor of the LT-Cage delivery system for Infuse, has allegedly received some $25 million in royalties from Medtronic. The Medtronic whistleblower lawsuit alleges that while editing the journal, Zdeblick failed to disclose “that he profited from each and every surgery which used Infuse through rights in the exclusive delivery vehicle, his LT-Cage.”
On December 12, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement that revealed Medtronic had agreed to pay $23.5 million to resolve allegations that it had violated the False Claims Act by using kickbacks to induce doctors to implant the company’s devices. As part of the resolution, the whistleblowers received payments totaling more than $3.96 million from the federal share of the recovery, the government said.
Anyone who possesses significant proof that a pharmaceutical company or medical device maker is committing fraudulent activity against the federal government is encouraged to contact us. Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).
Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney