Astellas Pharma US, Inc. recently settled a lawsuit claiming it violated the False Claims Act when it illegally marketed its antifungal drug Mycamine to children. The drug had been approved for use by adults, but risks to children were unknown. Astellas agreed to pay $7.3 million in penalties and fines.
Investigation into Astellas marketing actions began in 2010 after former pharmaceutical sales representative Frank Smith contacted attorneys with his complaints. The lawsuit claimed Astellas marketed its antifungal cream Mycamine for off-label use to children. Mycamine was approved by the FDA for adult treatment of the yeast fungus thrush and candida in the throat, stomach, and other parts of the body. Allegations included charges that Astellas filed claims for reimbursement under federal health care programs based on its illegal marketing of Mycamine.
Hope Cancer Institute recently settled a lawsuit that was filed in March 2012 alleging the medical facility had defrauded federal health care programs. Also named in the suit was Hope Cancer Institute’s owner Dr. Raj Sadasivan. The settlement includes $2.9 million in reimbursement and penalties to be paid to the US government. The institute is located in Kansas City, Kansas.
The lawsuit began when three employees brought their allegations of fraud against Hope to federal authorities. The suit claimed Hope was overcharging Medicaid and Medicare for the cancer drugs it was using in its facility. According to the claim, Dr. Sadasivan submitted numerous false medical records that sometimes listed up to two times the dosage of chemotherapy medication he was actually prescribing for patients. There are no allegations regarding patients’ treatments, but it appears the facility was padding its pockets thanks to the payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
A New York federal judge recently revived a $2.3 billion whistleblower lawsuit against Hawker Beechcraft after fines and penalty charges were discharged by a bankruptcy court. The suit alleged the company used defective plane parts in military trainers that were sold to the US government. The case was filed under the federal False Claims Act in 2007 by former employees of the parts maker TECT Aerospace.
Specifically, allegations in the suit claim that fracture critical wing spars made by TECT for Hawker Beechcraft special mission King Air and T-6A trainers did not comply with contractual requirements and procedures. The company is accused of manipulating parts in ways that could lead to malfunction when in use.
Halifax Health, a Florida-based medical facility, recently settled the first part of a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging the company is guilty of inappropriately admitting patients, illegally billing Medicare, and illegally colluding with doctors. The exact amount of the settlement was undisclosed, but sources close to the case claim it was in the neighborhood of $85 million.
Halifax Health has been under investigation since 2009, when a whistleblower reported the illegal activity occurring at the medical centers owned by Halifax Health. The qui tam suit was brought against Elin Baklid-Kunz, then and currently working as the director of physician services for Halifax Health. The suit claims fraud had been occurring for more than a decade. Two years later, in 2011, the Department of Justice joined the case.
This past February, Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Services settled a lawsuit that alleged the company was guilty of violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, the federal False Claims Act, and the False Claims Acts of New York and New Jersey. Doshi was accused of paying referring doctors based on the number of patients referred and billing Medicare and Medicaid for diagnostic services. Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Services, P.C. and Diagnostic Imaging Group, LLC are both privately held companies founded by Dr. Leena Doshi and her husband Nitin. The company owns and operates 38 radiological centers throughout New York and New Jersey, and at one time had clinics in Florida.
The settlement was reached with the US Department of Justice, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and the Medicaid Fraud Units of the Attorneys General of New Jersey and New York and included $15.5 million dollars in penalties and fines.