June 5, 2013 - The Department of Justice announced last month that it had reached an agreement whereby medical device giant C.R. Bard will pay over $50 million to resolve charges that it paid illegal kickbacks to improve sales of a cancer treatment.
Interestingly, reports show the lawsuit which spurred the investigation may have been avoided had Bard acted more responsibly toward a loyal and observant employee.
The revised False Claims Act, also known as the whistleblower law, allows those with evidence of fraud or false charges against the government to file lawsuits on the government’s behalf. As a reward, whistleblowers can share in the funds recovered.
Since 1986, whistleblowers have uncovered extensive fraud in the healthcare, defense and banking industries, and returned billions to taxpayers.
This case was filed by former Bard brachytherapy manager Julie Darity, who claims she was fired after noticing the company providing grants, rebates and even free medical equipment to physicians and hospitals in return for using their radioactive brachytherapy seed prostate cancer treatment.
The practice, which allegedly occurred from 1998 through 2006, violated federal law when the hospitals billed Medicare for the treatment.
As is often the case, companies fire workers who are trying to correct unscrupulous practices rather than fix the problem. In this case, Bard even billed Darity $250 to keep her work laptop, a spite which may have cost them over $50 million.
As part of the settlement, Bard will pay more than $48.3 million to settle the False Claims violations, a fine of $2.2 million, and take steps to improve corporate compliance efforts.
Bard, far from admitting any wrongdoing, issued a statement saying they were pleased to “finalize agreements with the government."
For her efforts in uncovering the fraud, Darity will be paid more than $10.1 million out of the settlement, according to the Department of Justice.
For more information on cases involving fraud or the False Claims Act, contact the fraud experts at Riley Allen Law today.