The pharmaceutical industry is caught in a wave of whistleblower cases. Employees help the government shine a bright light on what they consider to be taxpayer fraud. Pharmaceutical fraud accounts for the largest amounts of money paid out under the Federal False Claims Act. In January, Eli Lilly and Co. agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle charges that it illegally promoted the anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa® for unapproved uses. Nine whistleblowers, all former Lilly employees, split about $100 million of the settlement as their reward. In September, Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle charges that it illegally promoted numerous drugs, including Bextra®, a painkiller. Six whistleblowers will split about $102 million. In October, AstraZeneca agreed to pay $520 million to settle investigations into illegal marketing. Numerous whistleblowers split an undisclosed amount of money in that case. Still pending is the law suit against Johnson & Johnson which began in Trenton, New Jersey and which was the subject of earlier blogs.
Whistleblowers typically get between 15% and 30% of any recovered damages, an amount which is frequently enough to retire with millions of dollars in the bank. For instance, last year a former Merck sales manager collected $68 million for helping to expose an alleged drug price-fixing scheme. A microbiologist at Warner-Lambert was awarded $26.6 million for helping expose illegal marketing of an epilepsy drug.
If you believe that you are aware of any tax fraud or inappropriate behavior that cost the government money, please contact the whistleblower attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.