Outcome: $350 million settlement | $21 million whistleblower awards
Tycko & Zavareei LLP partner Eva Gunasekera, while working for the United States Department of Justice, helped obtain over $350 million in settlements against one pharmaceutical company. The company allegedly paid kickbacks to induce physicians to prescribe their drugs and marketing the medicines for uses not approved by the FDA (off-label uses). The physicians associated with the case participated in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The Anti-Kickback law prohibits any payments to physicians that entice them to prescribe a company’s drugs. In this case, the kickbacks allegedly included remuneration in the form of grants or consulting fees, expensive meals, lavish entertainment, and speaking events. The physicians received payment even for canceled events with no bona fide reasons for the cancellations (“sham speaker events”). The Department of Justice received help from individuals who reported the fraud. These whistleblowers received awards of around $21 million.