BOSTON, Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by The Simmer Law Group:
The United States Department of Justice announced today that pharmaceutical manufacturer Warner Chilcott has agreed to plead guilty to health care fraud and pay $125 million to resolve civil and criminal liability arising from the illegal promotion of the drugs Actonel®, Asacol®, Atelvia®, Doryx®, Enablex®, Estrace®, and Loestrin®, and various formulations of these drugs.
The civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The Simmer Law Group, Seeger Weiss and MoloLamken represented the two whistleblowers in the case.
According to DOJ, the company's marketing scheme involved paying kickbacks to health care professionals to prescribe its drugs as well as filling out and submitting fraudulent prior authorization requests to evade Medicare and Medicaid formulary restrictions, also a violation of patients' privacy protections under HIPAA. DOJ also today announced the indictments of former company president Carl Reichel and district managers Timothy Garcia and Landon Eckles. On Tuesday, DOJ filed an indictment against Rita Luthra, a Massachusetts physician. Last July, district manager Jeffrey Podolosky also pled guilty.
"Our clients risked their careers to help DOJ with the investigation," said Scott Simmer of the Simmer Law Group, the lead counsel for the two former Warner Chilcott drug sales representatives who brought the whistleblower lawsuit. "It's deeply gratifying that their perseverance and dedication is finally coming to light. They each actively cooperated with the government's criminal investigation for many months, helping to confirm just how egregious this conduct was. We continued to litigate these claims while the government pursued its criminal investigation."
"Bribing physicians to prescribe a particular medication compromises the doctor's integrity and erodes patient trust," said co-counsel Steve Weiss of Seeger Weiss. "The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits the exchange of anything of value in an effort to induce the referral of federal health care program business. Violators on either end of the transaction risk not only civil and criminal penalties, but also possible exclusion from government health insurance programs. It was particularly appalling that some doctors even allowed drug reps access to patient records to prepare the prior authorizations required to receive reimbursement for a drug that was not on federal health insurance formularies."
"This shows what private citizens can do to enforce the law and effect change," said Steven Molo of MoloLamken.
The civil settlement was handled by Boston Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sonja Rao and Susan Powistillo and Trial Counsel Colin Huntley of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department's Civil Division.
Download Warner Chilcott Settlement Agreement (2.94 MB)
Download Warner Chilcott Plea Agreement (998.94 KB)
Download Warner Chilcott Information (1.49 MB)
Download Carl Reichel Indictment (2.55 MB)
About Simmer Law Group PLLC
Based in Washington, DC, the Simmer Law Group PLLC represents whistleblowers nationwide who have filed cases alleging fraud that financially impacted state and federal governments in the areas of health care, for-profit education and government contracting; as well as insurance plans in large scale recovery actions.
SOURCE The Simmer Law Group