This year is turning into another big year for settlements of False Claims Act cases. As has been true generally in recent years, the largest settlements involve claims of “off-label” marketing of drugs by pharmaceutical companies. Here are our choices for the five top settlements of the year so far.
1. The largest False Claims Act settlement of the year, so far, was announced by the Department of Justice earlier this month. The pharmaceutical company Allergan, Inc. will pay $600 million to resolve claims arising out of its “off-label” marketing of Botox. Under the settlement, $375 million will be for criminal penalties and forfeitures, and $225 million will be for settlement of civil False Claims Act claims. The qui tam whistleblowers who initially disclosed the “off-label” marketing to the government will receive a reward of approximately $38 million.
2. Pharmaceutical titan AstraZeneca LP agreed to pay $520 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging that the company engaged in an “off-label” marketing and kickback scheme in connection with the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel. The qui tam whistleblower who initiated the case will receive approximately $45 million from the settlement.
3. Information technology company EMC Corporation agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company violated the False Claims Act and the Federal Anti-Kickback Act by fraudulently inducing the General Services Administration to enter into a contract.
4. Pharmaceutical company Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Inc. agreed to pay $72.5 million to resolve allegations that the company conducted an “off-label” marketing campaign in connection its cystic fibrosis drug TOBI. The qui tam whistleblowers will divide a $7,825,000 share of the settlement.
5. Nelnet, Inc. agreed to pay $55 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company made false statements in order to obtain government subsidies for originating federally-guaranteed student loans.