A federal judge has denied a request by Aetna to drop a whistleblower lawsuit against CVS Caremark that alleges the company overbilled Medicare to the tune of more than $1 billion for prescription drugs.
Aetna is the insurance company that recently merged with CVS, and it has been embroiled in a legal battle to dismiss records indicating CVS fraudulently billed Medicaid and Medicare. The whistleblower is Sarah Behnke, who worked as the chief Medicare actuary for Aetna and filed the lawsuit in 2014. She alleges her own investigation into the incident discovered CVS was billing the government and Aetna for significantly more for drugs than it was paying pharmacists.
Aetna did not demand Behnke return documents associated with the case until May 2018, months after it announced its merger with CVS. It claims Behnke has records that belong to Aetna that are subject to attorney-client privilege and that contain confidential or proprietary business information, and thus she should be required to destroy copies of all of these records she has.
Whistleblowers afforded protections by federal government
It is understandable for potential whistleblowers to be nervous about coming forward with knowledge of wrongdoing by their companies—whistleblower retaliation is all too common still in the United States. Fortunately there are numerous federal protections afforded to whistleblowers that make such retaliation illegal and punishable in a number of ways. Whistleblowers who have been subject to retaliation or wrongful termination could be compensated financially and/or reinstated to their position.
To learn more about the steps you should take if you’ve become aware of wrongdoing in your business or organization, work with an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.