$21MM for Whistleblowers and Government in Settlement of Government Declined Kickback, Medicaid Fraud Suit Against Omnicare

Joel Androphy, David Berg, Sarah Frazier, and Zenobia Bivens won a settlement to end a False Claims Act case brought by whistleblowers alleging fraudulent Medicaid claims and kickbacks to pharmacies that prescribed an antidepressant drug. The settlement between CVS-owned Omnicare and relators was after roughly a decade of litigation over the company’s alleged role in an alleged scheme by drugmaker Organon to pay kickbacks to long-term care pharmacies that prescribed its Remeron antidepressants, purportedly resulting in false claims to Medicaid.

The relators claimed Organon offered kickbacks between 1999 and 2005 to long-term care pharmacies including Omnicare so long as they granted its Remeron treatment “preferred status,” according to a 2010 second amended complaint. The relators said these kickbacks were conducted at the expense of Medicaid and other federal health care programs. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there was no determination of liability.

Berg & Androphy spent millions of dollars litigating the case through summary judgment.   The government declined to intervene in the case.

The case is United States of America et al. v. Organon USA Inc et al., case number 1:07-cv-12153, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

There is litigation still pending against a remaining pharmacy  defendant.