Federal regulators and law enforcers understandably don’t like being defrauded by companies that take taxpayers’ money and do business with government agencies. When possible, they strike back hard with financial clawbacks and penalties assessed under a plethora of laws that spotlight fraud and attack it aggressively.
One such law is the federal statutory False Claims Act, which we have referenced occasionally in our blogs at Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah. From offices in Connecticut and across the country, our deep legal team has represented many whistleblowers who have come forward to report fraud against both the federal government and state agencies. We have protected whistleblowers and spurred qui tam recoveries under the FCA and other laws in many significant matters.
We stress on our website that the FCA “has proven to be an effective and powerful tool in fighting Medicare and Medicaid fraud … and other types of fraud perpetrated against the federal government.”
That is proven time and again, and quite prominently recently in a matter involving the massive Walgreens pharmacy chain. The company agreed to a settlement late last month with the U.S. Department of Justice concerning its alleged role in orchestrating two long-term frauds against consumers and government health care payers.
Two separate qui tam lawsuits were filed against the chain in 2012 and 2015, respectively. The former spotlighted the company’s deceit in failing to disclose a discounted drug-price program and apply promised savings to consumers. The latter underscored the massive waste promoted via a company requirement that consumers seeking limited amounts of insulin pens buy that product in bigger quantities.
Walgreens will now pay nearly $260 million for its wrongdoing to the federal government and state counterparts.