GE Healthcare Inc. has paid a hefty $30 million, plus interest, to settle a federal False Claims Act suit alleging that Amersham Health Inc., acquired by GE Healthcare in 2004, caused Medicare to pay inflated prices for Myoview, which is used in cardiac imaging procedures.
Myoview is a radiopharmaceutical powder, which is distributed to health care providers in multi-dose vials. Nuclear pharmacies reconstitute the powder by mixing it with a radioactive agent. Individual doses of the pharmaceutical are then injected into patients undergoing cardiac imaging procedures. In some cases, Medicare paid for Myoview based partially on the number of individual doses contained in a multi-dose vial. The Justice Department became involved in the suit to pursue the U.S. government’s allegations that Amersham Health gave misleading information to Medicare concerning how many individual doses of Myoview could be processed from a multi-dose vial of the drug. This allegedly false information caused Medicare to overpay for Myoview in many cases.
The lawsuit was originally filed under the Qui Tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which provisions allow a private individual who is aware of a fraudulent scheme against the government to file a claim on the government’s behalf and share a portion of any recovery. The whistleblower in the suit against GE Healthcare will receive $5.1 million as his share in the government’s recovery.
The Obama administration is committed to fighting all kinds of health care fraud. Since May of 2009, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Attorney General Eric Holder have joined forces with their Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative. Use of the False Claims Act has allowed the federal government to recover more than $6.6 billion since January 2009 in federal health care fraud cases.
Waters & Kraus is a national firm with highly skilled lawyers practicing qui tam litigation in four offices, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Baltimore. Our attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing whistleblowers in health care fraud cases. Please contact us to learn about our practice and how we can assist.