Risperdal Whistleblowers Get $20 Million+ Rewards in J&J’s $2.2 Billion Settlement By Tod Aronovitz | 02/05/14 | 0 Comment

As we reported in our ARONOVITZ Blog on November 14, whistleblowers received a record $167.7 million for their information in a nine-year government investigation into the alleged illegal marketing claims made about Johnson & Johnson’s popular anti-psychotic drug Risperdal and two additional drugs, as well as Medicare fraud. Along with the U.S. Department of Justice, Johnson & Johnson announced a staggering $2.2 billion settlement to resolve criminal investigations and civil probes, in which it admitted no liability or wrongdoing.

According to a more recent update on Bloomberg News, eight Risperdal whistleblowers received substantial rewards amounting to over $20 million each.

Bloomberg revealed that five former J&J employees filed such cases under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act and will receive almost $29 million each as a result of bringing the matter to the government’s attention and waiting while the feds investigated before going public.

In addition, one whistleblower received a $20.3 million award after a settlement in Texas, while two others will receive about $28 million each for information involving separate cases: the marketing of another drug at a J&J subsidiary and kickbacks to a nursing home pharmacy.

While the rewards may have been worthwhile, patience and stress were also part of the painstaking process for the J & J whistleblowers while they waited for the government to build and defend its case for almost a decade. Bloomberg News reported that several of them agreed to wear a wire and work with agents from the Department of Justice nearby. If any of them were discovered, it wasn’t clear what would have happened to them.

In settling the case, J&J signed a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. Also as part of the Affordable Care Act, drug companies and medical-device makers are now required to publicly disclose any money paid to doctors to make patients aware of potential conflicts of interest that may affect their health.

The J & J whistleblowers and their rewards, as reported by Bloomberg News:

  1. Victoria Starr – almost $29 million, first case in 2004, alleged J & J subsidiary Jansen Pharmaceuticals Inc. promoted Risperdal to health care providers for off-label purposes
  2. Lynn Powell – almost $29 million, alleged off-label marketing of Risperdal
  3. Judy Doetterl – almost $29 million, wore a wire at a J & J national sales meeting to prove off-label marketing tactics of Risperdal
  4. Camille McGowan – almost $29 million, Doetterl’s former boss, alleged off-label marketing of Risperdal
  5. Kurtis J. Barry – almost $29 million, provided a break in the case of alleged off-label marketing of Risperdal in 2010
  6. Allen Jones – $20.3 million when J&J paid $158 million to settle with Texas over Risperdal
  7. Joseph Strom – almost $28 million, sued J&J subsidiary, Scios Inc., over marketing of the heart failure drug Natrecor
  8. Bernard Lisitza – almost $28, for alleging kickbacks to Omnicare Inc. (OCR), a nursing home pharmacy

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.