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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 Drug Companies that Defraud the Government Lose Their Patents?

Posted  09/18/19
Settlements between drug companies and the government are commonplace these days. Just last week the DOJ announced another settlement with a pharmaceutical company, Mallinckrodt, for allegedly paying kickbacks to doctors to induce them to prescribe more of the company’s drug. The company was accused of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute, which generally prohibits medical providers from paying or receiving...

Question of the Week — Is the use of public nuisance law against J&J for its role in the opioid crisis appropriate?

Posted  08/29/19
The landmark $572M opioid verdict in Oklahoma against Johnson & Johnson stemmed from a single claim: “public nuisance” under state law.  Other cases against opioid manufacturers, including whistleblower cases, involve claims for fraud, unlawful marketing, improper prescriptions, kickbacks, violating the Controlled Substances Act by failing to report suspicious purchases, and even flooding the black market.  But...

Question of the Week — Should Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) be allowed to deny patients access to essential life-saving drugs prescribed by their doctor?

Posted  08/19/19
pharmacy pills
As described in a recent article in The Fresno Bee, thousands of patients nation-wide have been denied access to essential life-saving medications by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) under the guise of ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment. PBMs are the quintessential “middlemen” in the healthcare system, standing between patients and their physicians on one side, and...

Question of the Week — Should the SEC expedite its review of whistleblower claims?

Posted  07/19/19
businessmen with clock face
Good things come to those who wait—at least that’s what most experienced whistleblowers will tell you. Whether they filed a complaint in court or submitted evidence to a regulatory agency, those who have reported fraud know firsthand that the legal process can take a great deal of time. Whistleblowers often wait several years before ever seeing the proverbial fruits of their labor. So when it comes to the...

Question of the Week — Should providers who defraud Medicare be excluded from it?

Posted  06/18/19
Fortune Cookie with Message with Message Saying "Not Eligible for Medicare!"
Sometimes, though rarely, when a medical provider settles a False Claims Act case or is found to have violated the FCA at trial, they are excluded from participating in healthcare programs as a condition of resolving the case. Often, this is a limited-time ban that is meant to incentivize providers to follow Medicare’s rules in the future and to deter other providers from committing fraud. Between Medicare,...

Question of the Week — Is it time for a legislative fix to limit sky high air ambulance costs?

Posted  06/14/19
Emergency Personnel Rushing to Helicopter Ambulance
As rural hospitals continue to shutter, accessible emergency medical care is out of reach for an increasing number of Americans. When health emergencies arise, patients in rural communities often must rely on helicopter ambulances to get them quickly to care. But the Government Accountability Office reported the median cost for a helicopter ambulance ride was over $36,000 in 2017. The problem will likely continue...

Question of the Week — Should the Medicare Fraud Hotline or HHS OIG Reward Informants?

Posted  06/7/19
businessmen showing inside of briefcase
Opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics agreed to a $225 million settlement related to allegations that it unlawfully marketed its drug Subsys and paid kickbacks to providers through “speaker programs” that rewarded providers who prescribed Subsys. We previously asked whether our readers thought CEOs should be more liable for corporate wrongdoing after the Insys CEO was convicted for participating in a criminal...

Question of the Week — Should institutions return past donations from Big Pharma executives and their family members implicated in the opioid crisis?

Posted  05/23/19
Money with Pills Spilled Over
The New York Times recently reported that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has decided to stop accepting gifts from members of the Sackler family linked to Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, one of the drugs at the center of the opioid epidemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans in the past two decades. The Met’s decision follows that of other museums and universities, including the Tate Modern, the...

Question of the Week — Did the Flint Jury Get it Right in Natasha Henderson’s Whistleblower Retaliation Case?

Posted  05/16/19
Sign of City of Flint Water Plant
In yet another chapter of Flint, Michigan’s ongoing water crisis saga, a jury sided with the city and against its former City Administrator, Natasha Henderson, in a whistleblower retaliation case regarding water crisis donations. Henderson alleged she was fired by Mayor Karen Weaver for questioning Weaver’s use of the donations. Weaver claimed she fired Henderson after she learned Henderson was warned of a...

Question of the Week — Should the CEO Be Held Accountable?: Lessons from the Insys verdict.

Posted  05/10/19
By Jessica T. Moore
Handcuffed business-leader walking through jail.
In a shocking first, a federal jury has convicted an opioid-company CEO and other top executives of a criminal racketeering conspiracy. Insys founder and chairman John Kapoor and four other executives bribed doctors to overprescribe a highly addictive fentanyl painkiller, and ran a phony call-center to defraud insurance companies into paying for the expensive drug. Although the company itself had already paid over...
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