Warner Chilcott to Pay 125 Million to Resolve Kickback Allegations Seeger Weiss LLP Represented Relators in Historic Healthcare Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuit
The United States Department of Justice announced today that pharmaceutical manufacturer Warner Chilcott has agreed to plead guilty to healthcare fraud and pay $125 million to resolve civil and criminal liability arising from the illegal promotion of the drugs Actonel®, Asacol®, Atelvia®, Doryx®, Enablex®, Estrace®, and Loestrin®, and various formulations of these drugs.
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Seeger Weiss LLP, along with The Simmer Law Group and MoloLamken, represented the two former Warner Chilcott drug sales representatives who brought the whistleblower lawsuit.
According to DOJ, the company's marketing scheme involved paying kickbacks to health care professionals to prescribe its drugs as well as filling out and submitting fraudulent prior authorization requests to evade Medicare and Medicaid formulary restrictions, also a violation of patients' privacy protections under HIPAA. In addition to Warner Chilcott pleading guilty, DOJ also today announced the indictments of former company president Carl Reichel and district managers Timothy Garcia and Landon Eckles. On Tuesday, DOJ filed an indictment against Rita Luthra, a Massachusetts physician. Last July, district manager Jeffrey Podolosky also pled guilty.
"Our clients risked their careers and personal wellbeing in coming forward with these allegations and assisting DOJ with its investigation," said relators' counsel, Stephen A. Weiss of Seeger Weiss LLP in New York. "It's deeply gratifying that their perseverance and dedication has resulted in these criminal indictments and the end of Warner Chilcott's corrupt practices. They each actively cooperated with the government's criminal investigation for many months, helping to confirm just how important and valuable the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act are in rooting out and bringing an end to corporate fraud."
The civil settlement was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sonya Rao and Susan Poswistilo of Ortiz's Civil Division and Trial Counsel Colin Huntley of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department's Civil Division.