Last month, the Department of Justice announced yet another health care fraud False Claims Act settlement. This settlement was with pharmaceutical giant Boehrigner Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. Boehringer agreed to pay $95 million to settle allegations that the company promoted “off-label” and unapproved uses of its stroke-prevention drug, Aggrenox, the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drugs Atrovent and Combivent, and its hypertension drug Micardis. Boehringer was also accused of paying illegal kickbacks to healthcare professionals to promote their drugs.
The lawsuit was filed in 2005 by whistleblower Robert Heiden under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Heiden was a Boehringer sales representative and took an active role in the government’s investigation of his former employer. Whistleblowers can receive anywhere from 15% to 30% of the government’s recoveries from qui tam lawsuits. Mr. Heiden will receive a 21% share of this settlement.
For more information on common health care fraud schemes and what you can do to prevent it, visit Tycko & Zavareei’s website at www.fraudfighters.net.