Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical company, recently agreed to pay more than $15 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (its former name) paid illegal kickbacks to doctors in the forms of entertainment and dinners to encourage them to prescribe the company’s H.P. Acthar Gel. The alleged wrongdoing occurred between 2009 through 2013.
The lawsuit alleged 12 sales representatives from Questcor provided illegal kickbacks to healthcare providers in the previously listed forms with the intent of getting more Medicare referrals for Acthar from those providers. The behavior was a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, and also resulted in false claims submitted to Medicare.
Kickbacks are a violation of federal law
The Federal Anti-Kickback Statute makes it illegal for any pharmaceutical company to pay or offer (either directly or indirectly) any sort of compensation, be it financial or any other form of value, to healthcare providers with the intent to encourage them to prescribe a drug reimbursed by programs like Medicare. One common example of an Anti-Kickback Statute violation is “wining and dining” doctors as a means of making them more open to writing Medicare prescriptions of that company’s products.
The allegations in this particular case were filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to sue for fraud on the behalf of the federal government. If the government decides to join in the case, the party that initially brought forth the claim is eligible to share in any recovery that results from the legal action.
For more information about the Anti-Kickback Statute and the steps you should take if you’re aware of wrongdoing in your healthcare organization, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.