The Justice Department yesterday reported $4.9 billion in False Claims Act recoveries for fiscal year 2012, which is the largest single-year recovery in history.
The recoveries spanned several sectors of the economy. In the health care arena, the Justice Department reports that, “[e]nforcement actions involving the pharmaceutical and medical device industry were the source of some of the largest recoveries this year.” The department recovered nearly $2 billion in cases alleging false claims for drugs and medical devices under federally insured health programs and, in addition, returned $745 million to state Medicaid programs.” The recoveries from major pharmaceutical companies addressed several drugs allegedly marketed for off-label use. They also addressed cases involving the alleged payment of kickbacks to physicians to prescribe certain drugs. Some of the cases addressed alleged false and misleading statements concerning drug safety and the alleged underpayment of rebates owed under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, and they include cases alleging inaccurate, unsupported, or misleading statements about drug safety to increase sales.
The Justice Department also reported successes in its “aggressive pursuit of financial fraud, including fraud in the housing and mortgage industries that came to light in the wake of the financial crisis.”
With respect to procurement fraud, “the department recovered $427 million in false claims for goods and services purchased by the government.” Noteworthy is its recovery from a software manufacturer that allegedly overcharged the government “by failing to disclose substantially lower prices offered to its commercial customers.”
Fiscal 2012 was also a very good year for whistleblowers. Of the $4.9 billion in recoveries this year, “a record $3.3 billion was recovered in whistleblower suits,” and the department reported “$439 million in [whistleblower] awards in fiscal year 2012.”
In appreciation of whistleblowers’ assistance, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General noted, “[t]he whistleblowers who bring wrongdoing to the government’s attention are instrumental in preserving the integrity of government programs and protecting taxpayers from the costs of fraud. We are extremely grateful for the sacrifices they make to do the right thing.”