Berger Montague, one of the nation’s preeminent whistleblower law firms, recently announced its $120 million victory against pharmacy services company Omnicare, Inc. The settlement enters the record books as the highest-ever False Claims Act settlement wherein the U.S. government did not intervene. We reported last week about Omnicare’s extensive experience defending whistleblower lawsuits and its involvement in scams ranging from “swapping” to misrepresentations of fees to U.S. health care agencies like Medicare and Medicaid. We also reviewed the sweeping litigation facing Omnicare in 29 jurisdictions raising allegations of violations of 28 states’ and the District of Columbia’s False Claims Acts.
No one can argue that holding Omnicare accountable for its actions is not in everyone’s best interest. A successful lawsuit not only recovers billions in taxpayer dollars, but may help deter other pharmacy services companies from engaging in similar conduct. But what does this success mean for the future of agencies like Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare, who service tens of millions of Americans and process billions of reimbursement invoices each year? Can this litigation help to put a stop to this conduct? Or is it more likely companies like Omnicare will “roll the dice,” continue their fraud-based profit marginalization and pay the penalties as they come?
History of FCA Reveals Decades of Success
The FCA is one of the most successful pieces of legislation in American history. It has enjoyed an existence spanning three centuries and was highly encouraged by President Lincoln. To date, the FCA is responsible for recovering billions of dollars that would otherwise have escaped the taxpayers’ hands due to overreaching, conniving contractors and medical facilities. In fact, the FCA’s whistleblower provision, which awards a percentage of any settlement or judgment to the person who came forward to report misconduct, is mimicked by several other statutes relating to securities, commodities and tax fraud.