Huge penalties levied on drug wholesaler for health care fraud

Hilder & Associates attorneys have a strong history of client advocacy in cases involving whistleblower claims brought under the federal False Claims Act (FCA). Those matters spotlight alleged wrongdoing aimed at defrauding federal and state governmental bodies and, thus, American taxpayers.

We note on a firm webpage addressing whistleblower activities in fraud-based matters that many FCA cases revolve around health care fraud. That is unsurprising, given the industry’s huge scope and the magnitude of programs like Medicare, Medicaid, the VA and TRICARE.

One recent highly publicized matter underscores the focus on wrongdoers and the sheer dimensions of medical fraud. That case involves one of the country’s largest drug wholesalers.

Namely, that is AmerisourceBergen (ABC), which is now licking its proverbial wounds after being slapped with nearly $900 million in levied fines following criminal and civil settlements with government authorities. The company paid out approximately $260 million last year to settle various criminal fraud charges. The government tacked on an additional $625 million in exactions last week to settle ABC’s civil liabilities.

Multiple whistleblowers played a central role in exposing the cited medical fraud that ultimately resulted in company admissions of wrongdoing. Reportedly, those individuals will collectively receive $93 million for their intervention.

ABC faced many fraud-linked allegations in the matter. One central charge was that the company broke open original vials of cancer-treatment drugs, skimmed off excess amounts and then repackaged contents into pre-filled syringes. Doing so enabled ABC to sell extra amounts and unlawfully bill multiple customers. Moreover, contended prosecutors, that practice compromised sterility and subjected consumers to material health risks.

The company also paid kickbacks to doctors to sell the repackaged medications.