Constantine Cannon Partner Gordon Schnell Quoted in Law360 on the Rise of "Outside" Whistleblowers
Following the blockbuster False Claims Act settlement by AmerisourceBergen Corp., Law360 reported that 3 of the 4 whistleblowers who brought the case forward were not employees of the company. Rather, two were pharmacy workers at a Michigan hospital and one was a Florida physician group, and all of them were exposed to the alleged misconduct in the regular course of their work. As Law360 explains, these “outsiders” represent a new wave of whistleblowers that are not traditional insiders but have a different kind of relationship with the defendant that provides them “an official window into a company’s billing shenanigans.”
Constantine Cannon whistleblower partner Gordon Schnell, who was interviewed for the piece, describes this new breed of whistleblower as “insiders within the industry itself.”
Law360 notes the opportunity for these quasi-insiders is especially pronounced in the pharmaceutical industry because of the close ties it necessarily shares with the health care community, including with doctors, nurses, pharmacies, physician groups and a whole host of subcontractors. “It’s harder if you’re not an insider,” Mr. Schnell told Law360. “Because if you’re not there in the room, if you’re not there with the internal documents, there’s an extra level of proof you have to overcome.”
But as Law360 notes, the $625 million AmerisourceBergen settlement – among the 10 largest False Claims Act settlements involving pharmaceuticals – shows these types of cases brought by these types of whistleblowers are not going away. Mr. Schnell agrees: “It’s a harder case to bring. But by no means is it stopping these kinds of whistleblowers or stopping firms from bringing these cases.”
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