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Whistleblower Case Results In $28 Million Settlement; Case Is Reminder That Healthcare Fraud Is An Important Election Year Issue

Washington, D.C. — A whistleblower case alleging the payment of kickbacks by Abbott Laboratories to induce prescriptions for the drug Depakote, for elderly patients in nursing homes, has resulted in a $28 million dollar settlement with one of the nation’s largest long term care pharmacies, Omnicare.

“This case is a reminder – especially in an election year with healthcare and the conduct of big pharma at issue – that healthcare fraud and waste continues to compromise patient care and drain valuable healthcare dollars,” said Reuben Guttman of Guttman, Buschner & Brooks (GBB) PLLC which represented lead whistleblower, Meredith McCoyd. In addition to Guttman, the GBB team included Traci Buschner and Caroline Poplin, MD, JD, the firm’s Medical Director.

The case was filed and resolved under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA). That statute allows whistleblowers to bring suit in the name of the government.

According to the complaint in intervention filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), “By knowingly and actively soliciting kickbacks to promote Depakote, Omnicare enhanced its profits at the expense of the elderly nursing home residents it purported to protect. . .”

The government’s complaint in intervention also alleged that “in exchange for Abbott’s kickbacks, Omnicare engaged in intensive efforts to convince nursing home physicians to prescribe Depakote. . .”

Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC, www.GBBlegal.com, is one of the nation’s leading whistleblower law firms. Attorneys at the firm have represented whistleblowers in cases returning more than $5 billion to state and federal governments. For more information on the False Claims Act go to www.whistleblowerlaws.com

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Whistleblower Case Results In $28 Million Settlement

Case Is Reminder That Healthcare Fraud Is An Important Election Year Issue

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A whistleblower case alleging the payment of kickbacks by Abbott Laboratories to induce prescriptions for the drug Depakote, for elderly patients in nursing homes, has resulted in a $28 million dollar settlement with one of the nation’s largest long term care pharmacies, Omnicare.     

“This case is a reminder – especially in an election year with healthcare and the conduct of big pharma at issue – that healthcare fraud and waste continues to compromise patient care and drain valuable healthcare dollars,” said Reuben Guttman of Guttman, Buscher & Brooks (GBB) PLLC which represented lead whistleblower, Meredith MCcoyd. In addition to Guttman, the GBB team included Traci Buschner and Caroline Poplin, MD, JD, the firm’s Medical Director.  

The case was filed and resolved under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA). That statute allows whistleblowers to bring suit in the name of the government. 

According to the complaint in intervention filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), “By knowingly and actively soliciting kickbacks to promote Depakote, Omnicare enhanced its profits at the expense of the elderly nursing home residents it purported to protect. . .”

The government’s complaint in intervention also alleged that “in exchange for Abbott’s kickbacks, Omnicare engaged in intensive efforts to convince nursing home physicians to prescribe Depakote. . .”   

Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC, www.GBBlegal.com, is one of the nation’s leading whistleblower law firms. Attorneys at the firm have represented whistleblowers in cases returning more than $5 billion to state and federal governments. For more information on the False Claims Act go to www.whistleblowerlaws.com

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Mastering Whistleblower Law – CLE Training for False Claims Attorneys

Distinguished Qui Tam Attorneys Bill Nettles and Reuben Guttman will present Mastering Whistleblower Law, Qui Tam Litigation, & the False Claims Act, a 90 minute Telephonic Seminar on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 from Noon-1:30 PM (Eastern Time).

Learn the latest on Mastering Whistleblower Law, Qui Tam Litigation, & the False Claims Act with this convenient telephonic seminar. All registered attendees who are unable to participate in the teleconference will be e-mailed a complimentary absentee recording & podcast of the full-length seminar two days after the live teleconference. Register to obtain CLE & MCLE credit, receive access to complete course & reference materials, and attend this telephonic seminar.

Click here to learn more and register.

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GBB files amicus on behalf of law professors in FCA case before Supreme Court

Congress intended the False Claims Act to apply broadly and reach all fraudulent attempts to cause the United States Government to pay out money. In Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, a key case pending before the United States Supreme Court, the Petitioner has urged a counter-textual interpretation that would vitiate the False Claims Act and compromise Congress’ intent.  On behalf of a distinguished group of law professors, Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC has filed an amicus brief in the matter.

The amicus brief proposes a comprehensive model, the application of which will ensure the Act continues to effectuate Congress’ intent.  As the brief explains, the starting point for determining whether conduct is fraudulent and should be captured by the Act begins by looking to principles of common law fraud. However, Congress expanded upon the liability available under the False Claims Act, specifically by eliminating traditional reliance and scienter requirements of common law. Application of the Act’s statutory provisions expanding liability, coupled with use of limiting principles of materiality – routinely applied to other fraud statutes to ensure minor violations are not cognizable – balances concerns of the Act’s over-expansion with its stated purpose to broadly reach all fraudulent or deceitful acts that cause the Government to pay out money.

The full amicus brief is available here: Universal Health Services Inc v US and Massachusetts, ex rel Escobar and Correa – Brief of Law Professors as Amici.

Doctors promoting treatments on social media routinely fail to disclose ties to drug makers

by Sheila Kaplan (Statnews.com)

Washington – Physicians across the United States routinely offer medical advice on social media — but often fail to mention that they have accepted tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars from the companies that make the prescription drugs they tout.

A STAT examination of hundreds of social media accounts shows that health care professionals virtually never note their conflicts of interest, some of them significant, when promoting drugs or medical devices on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The practice cuts across all specialties.

. . .

But Reuben Guttman, an attorney in Washington who specializes in food and drug law, said the system leaves patients vulnerable to misinformation.

“Doctors who accept these dollars and then turn around and promote on social media corrupt the market for honest medical information,” Guttman said. “And drug companies that pay these doctors are similarly poisoning the market for honest information.”

Read the full article at statnews.com.

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