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Biggest Whistlblower Lawsuit Settlements Came From Drug Makers

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Pharmaceutical companies have made a new top ten list, but it’s probably one they’d rather not be on. According to a study from the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, drug companies paid out eight out of the 10 largest settlements in federal prosecutions stemming from the False Claims Acts whistleblower provisions for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010.

Taxpayers Against Fraud reported that the U.S. Department of Justice recovered over $3.1 billion in stolen money in fiscal year 2010 following whistleblowers reports and noted that most—over 80 percent—of all successful False Claims Act recoveries are due to whistleblower reports. Under the Act, triple damages and statutory fines—up to $11,000 per claim—are provided; whistleblowers can receive 15-to-30 percent of recovered amounts, Taxpayers Against Fraud noted.

According to the group, the top ten payouts this past fiscal year were as follows:

• Allergan: $600 million
• AstraZeneca: $520 million
• Novartis Pharmaceuticals: $422.5 million
• Forest Laboratories: $313 million
• Elan Corporation: $203.5 million
• Teva Pharmaceuticals: $169 million
• WellCare Health Plans: $137.5 million
• Mylan, AstraZeneca, and Ortho-McNeil: $124 million
• Omnicare and IVAX Pharmaceuticals: $112 million
• Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and Christ Hospital: $108 million

So far, new fiscal year isn’t starting out well for drug makers when it comes to whistleblower claims. Last week, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $750 million over criminal and civil charges that the drug giant “knowingly” sold tainted medications. The Justice Department investation that led to the settlement stemmed from a whistleblower lawsuit.

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