Whistleblower Rewards to Fight Government Fraud

Some people dream about winning the lottery; two former drug salesmen for Johnson & Johnson could really hit it big while helping others. Two former drug salesmen Mark Duxbury and Dean McClellan could make millions if they succeed in proving their allegations of fraud against Ortho Biotech.

By blowing the whistle on one of the largest Medicare fraud schemes involving more than $3 billion in fraudulent claims, these whistleblowers could receive 15% to 30% of the amount recovered for the government under the False Claims Act.

Medicare Fraud Alleged against Ortho Biotech

Last month, a federal court reinstated a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by former pharmaceutical salesmen Mark Duxbury and Dean McClellan against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ortho Biotech. The men claim that Ortho Biotech cheated Medicare by giving doctors kickbacks to prescribe the anti-anemia drug Procrit. Doctors were allegedly given discounts, rebates and other perks to prescribe and administer the drug while Medicare was charged full price to reimburse prescriptions.

Rewarding Whistleblowers

The False Claims Act dates back to the Civil War when unscrupulous suppliers overcharged the Union Army for lame mules. President Lincoln's administration knew that insider knowledge was needed to expose the swindlers' schemes. So in 1863, Congress passed the False Claims Act with "qui tam" provisions that reward private citizens suing for fraud on behalf of the government.

Almost 150 years later, the False Claims Act still serves as an effective tool to combat government fraud. In fiscal year 2008, the federal government recovered $1.34 billion in settlements and judgments under the Act, and relators were awarded $198 million. The largest recoveries came from pharmaceutical companies for Medicare fraud.

Report Government Fraud

You may wish to consult a qui tam attorney if you suspect that a drug company, a government contractor or anyone else is defrauding the federal government. Strict time limits and legal procedures apply to these types of lawsuits, so it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

The fraud need not involve millions of dollars to make reporting worthwhile. You could receive $1,000 simply by reporting Medicare fraud of $100 or more to the Medicare Fraud Hotline: 1-800-HHS-TIPS 3 (1-800-447-8477). Click here to read more about reporting Medicare fraud. Not only will you stop these cheaters from robbing us all, you might receive a dollar reward for your efforts.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • What are some other types of Medicare fraud besides drug company kickbacks to doctors?
  • What kind of legal protections exist for whistleblowers who report government fraud?
  • Are healthcare providers allowed to accept free samples and other promotional items from drug company representatives?
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