Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hospitals and ambulance companies to pay $20 million to settle fraud claims

The United States Dept. of Justice and the Dept. of Health and Human Services announced that Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corp., three affiliated hospitals and a management company that administered ambulance operations at the three hospitals have agreed to pay the U.S. $20.3 million to settle allegations that they overcharged Medicare. The government alleged that the companies charged for non-medically necessary ambulance transports.

The two whistleblowers who brought the qui tam suits which disclosed these practices will receive approximately $2.4 million.

The Dept. of Justice released its press release on October 28, 2004.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Temple University physicians to pay $1.9 million

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that the physician practices group at Temple University will pay $1.9 million to resolve fraud allegations. The government alleged that the physicians billed for services for which it lacked proper documentation and also "upcoded" procedures, charging for a more expensive procedure than was actually performed.

The press release was issued on October 25, 2004

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Security firm charged with defrauding government for Iraq work

Custer Battles, a firm with $100 million in Iraqi security contracts, has been charged in a whistleblower lawsuit with repeatedly billing the occupation authorities for nonexistent services or at grossly inflated prices.

The Pentagon is concerned by these allegations and has barred Custer Battles from receiving further military contracts It has also withheld at least $10 million in payments to the company. The company is appealing the ban.

The New York Times story appeared on October 23, 2004 (subscription required).

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

San Diego defense contractor settles qui tam case

Photon Research Associates and its chief executive have paid $1.9 million to settle charges that the firm inflated labor costs on government contracts. The suit was brought by a whistleblower under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California issued a press release on October 4, 2004.

Genentech receives subpeonas on drug promotion

Genentech is the latest biotech company to be served with subpoenas relating to drug promotion. It is believed that the investigation concerns off-label marketing of Rituxan, a cancer drug. Doctors may prescribe drugs for any use but pharmaceutical companies may market them only for purposes approved by the FDA.

The subpoenas were issued by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, according to a, October 5, 2004 report in Red Herring.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Government subpoenas documents in Procrit marketing investigation

Johnson & Johnson has received a subpoena requesting documents about the sales and marketing of Procrit, a prescription treatment for anemia. Sales representatives of drug companies are not allowed to promote so-called "off-label" uses, although doctors may prescribe them as they see fit. Earlier this year, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer had asked Johnson & Johnson for marketing documents associated with several drugs, including Procrit.

Reuters reported on the story on October 1, 2004.

Cardinal Health pharmacy contract probed

Florida is investigating allegations that Cardinal Health overcharged a public hospital for prescriptions. The hospital's associate pharmacy director filed a complaint that also alleges an employee used hospital money for fishing trips and strip club visits.

The Associated Press report of October 1, 2004 appeared in the Los Angeles Times (subscription required).