Florida Shares in $4.19 Million Settlement Against Omnicare in Qui Tam Allegations of Kickbacks By Tod Aronovitz | 04/02/14 | 0 Comment

Omnicare Inc., an Ohio-based long-term care pharmacy, will pay the government $4.19 million to resolve allegations that it engaged in a kickback scheme in violation of the False Claims Act, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Omnicare’s Long-Term Care division, which specializes in geriatric pharmacy and other senior services, maintains a total of 175 facilities with locations in Florida and 43 other states within the United States.  Attorney General Pam Biondi announced that Florida has recovered nearly $70,000 as part of Omnicare’s national settlement.

According to the suit, Omnicare solicited and received kickbacks from the pharmaceutical manufacturer Amgen Inc. through a “therapeutic interchange” program that persuaded health care providers to prescribe Aranesp instead of a competitor drug.  Kickbacks in the program came in the form of supposed performance-based rebates, grants, speaker fees, consulting services, data fees, dinners and travel.

As a result of the alleged conduct, multiple false and fraudulent claims for Aranesp, a drug used for patients with chronic kidney disease, were submitted to state Medicaid programs for reimbursement, Biondi explained.

“Kickbacks are designed to influence decisions by health care providers, such as which drugs to prescribe,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.  “Americans who rely on federal health care programs, particularly vulnerable patients in skilled nursing facilities, are entitled to feel confident that decisions about their medical care are not tainted by improper financial arrangements.”

This civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens with knowledge of false claims to bring civil actions on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The whistleblower’s share in this case came to $397,925.

The lawsuit—United States ex rel. Kurnik v. Amgen Inc., et. al.—was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare or medical billing employees who have inside knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with Miami whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss a case.