The United States Department of Justice recovered more than $3 billion in judgments and settlements from cases involving fraud, including false claims against the government.
Of that $3 billion, $2.6 billion was related to the healthcare industry, which frequently accounts for the vast majority of the money taken in judgments and civil actions. Defendants included drug and medical device manufacturers, hospitals, pharmacies, managed care providers, laboratories, physicians and hospice organizations, among others. This also marked the 10th straight year healthcare fraud cases accounted for more than $2 billion in settlements and judgments.
Since 1986, when Congress implemented some upgrades to the False Claims Act, recoveries have totaled more than $62 billion.
The numbers show fraud continues to be a widespread problem in the healthcare industry. The Department of Justice investigates and resolves a wide variety of matters relating to healthcare fraud, and recover money for federal healthcare programs (Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE) and prevent fraudulent schemes that could put patients at risk and significantly increase hospital costs.
There were a couple significant recoveries this year. In the largest, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC paid $1.4 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability related to its marketing of Suboxone, an opioid addiction treatment drug. According to lawsuit information, the company was alleged to have promoted Suboxonoe to physicians who were writing prescriptions for uses of the drug that were ineffective, unsafe and medically unnecessary, and also used false and misleading claims to promote the drug. It also allegedly took steps to delay entry of generic competition to the drug to be able to control its pricing.
For more information about the steps you can take if you become aware of fraud or misconduct in your healthcare organization, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.