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AstraZeneca Settles False Claims Act Lawsuit for $7.9 Million

February 26, 2015 — A federal anti-kickback statute makes it a crime for drug makers to pay pharmacy benefit managers to give preferential treatment to one drug over another. Since the Anti-Kickback Statute was amended in 2010, violations of this statute automatically violate the federal False Claims Act as well. When pharmaceutical companies have secret financial agreements with pharmacy benefit managers, this can have a dangerous influence on which drugs Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries have access to. The qui tam language of the False Claims Act gives health care workers and others who discover illegal kickback scams a way to bring a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the government. Informants keep a share of the government’s financial recovery.

Delaware Pharmaceutical Giant Allegedly Paid Kickbacks to Pharmacy Benefit Manager to Ensure “Sole And Exclusive” Status for Nexium

Delaware drugmaker AstraZeneca LP has settled a False Claims Act lawsuit for $7.9 million. Two former employees with the company, Paul DiMattia and F. Folger Tuggle, alleged in the lawsuit that AstraZeneca paid kickbacks to a pharmacy benefit manager. The whistleblowers in the case will share $1,422,000 for their portion of the government’s settlement.
AstraZeneca markets and sells Nexium, used to treat heartburn and acid reflux. AstraZeneca allegedly made a deal to provide Medco Health Solutions, a pharmacy benefit manager, with price concessions on some of the pharmaceutical giant’s other medications, including Prilosec, Plendil and Toprol XL. In return, Medco allegedly agreed to maintain a “sole and exclusive” status for Nexium with various Medco formularies. The agreement allegedly violated the Federal Anti-Kickback statute, which in turn resulted in the filing of false claims for reimbursement by health care providers to the Retiree Drug Subsidy Program.

Contact Us to File a Lawsuit Targeting Unethical Kickback Schemes

While Waters & Kraus is not handling this particular case involving kickback allegations, we are representing whistleblowers in similar lawsuits. If you have comparable claims against a different pharmaceutical company, contact us by email or call our qui tam attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can work together to notify the government about fraud and abuse. Our qui tam lawyers, such as Paul Lawrence in the firm’s Washington D.C. area office, are committed to advancing and protecting informants’ interests in whistleblower lawsuits.

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