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Question of the Week

This archive includes posts from our “Question of the Week” series, in which the Whistleblower Insider blog addresses topics of interest to whistleblowers.  Return to:

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Question of the Week — Should Trump’s businesses have to answer subpoenas in a case that alleges foreign powers are lining the President’s pockets?

Posted  12/5/18
On Tuesday, the attorneys general of Washington, D.C. and Maryland issued several subpoenas in a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump violated the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauses.  The “foreign” emoluments clause generally prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers, or representatives. The “domestic” emoluments clause prohibits the president from receiving any “Emolument” from the federal government or...

Question of the Week — Should Medicare Have More Drug Price Negotiating Power?

Posted  11/29/18
This week, the Trump Administration proposed new rules that would allow insurers that participate in Medicare’s prescription drug program-known as Part D plan sponsors-to exclude certain drugs from coverage if their prices rise faster than inflation. The goal of the proposal is to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by giving Medicare insurers more leverage in their negotiations with pharmaceutical companies. Currently, Part D plans must make certain classes of...

Question of the Week — Should States Be Able to Criminalize Whistleblowing on Farm Conditions?

Posted  11/7/18
This Monday a district court judge struck down Wyoming’s “ag-gag” laws as unconstitutional.  Ag-gag laws criminalize photographing or videotaping any activity on a farm or agricultural operation without the owner’s consent. Wyoming’s two ag-gag laws prohibited individuals from entering onto land “for the purpose of collecting resource data” without the permission of the landowner, prohibited the use of any data collected in any research, and mandated the expungement of any...

Question of the Week — Pricing information in prescription ads on television?

Posted  11/2/18
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a rule that requires the list price (or, “wholesale acquisition cost”) to appear clearly in television ads for prescription drugs and biologics. The CMS reasons that by ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid patients receive cost information, patients can make more informed decisions that will save them money. For example, co-insurance for some high cost drugs requires the patient to pay a...

Question of the Week — Should a Non-Disclosure Agreement Hush Up the Danske Bank Whistleblower?

Posted  10/24/18
Over the last month, a major financial scandal has roiled Europe. In September, Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, announced that hundreds of billions of dollars in suspicious money had moved through its Estonia branch. Moreover, the company knew about the money, which originated in Russia and other former Soviet states, for years before taking action. In the wake of this tectonic money-laundering scandal, Danske Bank’s stock has plummeted...

Question of the Week — Should Whistleblowers Receive Rewards for Exposing Data Breaches?

Posted  10/17/18
Hardly a week goes by without more news of an actual or attempted data breach threatening consumer privacy or government security. In just this past month, Uber, Anthem and Facebook all made headlines for massive data breaches affecting millions of users and customers. In late September, Facebook notified its users of a data breach that exposed over 50 million people to hackers who could have taken over the users’ Facebook...

Question of the Week — Is it Time for an Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Program?

Posted  10/11/18
Current US law includes a variety of whistleblower programs that reward private persons for bringing information to the government. The programs range widely, and include everything from the False Claims Act (which rewards whistleblowers for revealing fraud against the government) to the SEC whistleblower program (rewards for reporting violations of US securities laws) to the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (rewards for reporting unlawful dumping of waste into the...

Question of the Week — Do Animals Need Whistleblowers?

Posted  09/26/18
A variety of whistleblower reward programs assist the U.S. government in identifying wrongdoing, holding bad actors accountable, and, often, compensating whistleblowers for the great risks they take to expose fraud and other misconduct. The False Claims Act (FCA) is by far the most widely used vehicle through which whistleblowers report fraud against the government. In fiscal year 2017, the government paid out $392 million to whistleblowers who, by filing an...

Question of the Week — Should opioid makers get to profit from opioid addiction treatment?

Posted  09/20/18
This month, the owners of Purdue Pharma-the maker of the powerful opioid OxyContin-obtained a patent for a form of buprenorphine, a faster-acting version of the opioid detox drug commonly known as Suboxone. Since OxyContin hit the market in 1996, opioid addiction has become an epidemic. Purdue and other opioid makers are currently being sued by a host of state and local governments for allegedly creating the problem by deceptively marketing...

Question of the Week -- Should the Government Hold Pharmaceutical Companies Accountable for the Opioid Crisis?

Posted  09/13/18
A recently-unsealed complaint by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring alleges Purdue Pharma pushed nearly 150 million opioid pills and patches into Virginia between 2008 and 2017. According to Attorney General Herring, Purdue went to great lengths to misrepresent the addictiveness of their drugs and engaged in zealous promotion and sales tactics. One of these tactics, Purdue’s Incentive Bonus Program, allegedly deterred sales representatives from reporting overprescribing healthcare providers. “Purdue Pharma...
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