In a remarkable move, the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently sought dismissal of 11 False Claims Act (FCA) cases, each of which assert that patient assistance services supplied by pharmaceutical manufacturers constitute unlawful kickbacks. The 11 complaints were brought against various pharmaceutical companies by what DOJ described as “shell companies” backed by the National Healthcare Analysis Group, a company formed for the purpose of filing FCA cases. In seeking dismissal, DOJ argued that the suits ran counter to government interests and wasted “scarce government resources.”

According to the DOJ, the 11 lawsuits involved “essentially the same theories of FCA liability” concerning “white coat marketing,” free “nurse services,” and “reimbursement support services.” Specifically, in a motion to dismiss filed on December 17, 2018, in the Eastern District of Texas, DOJ seemingly defended these manufacturer programs noting the government’s “strong interest” in ensuring that “patients have access to basic product support related to their medication, such as access to a toll-free patient-assistance line or instructions on how to properly inject or store their medication.” The government further argued that the allegations “conflict with important policy and enforcement prerogatives” of federal healthcare programs, and asserted that the relators “should not be permitted to indiscriminately advance claims…against an entire industry that would undermine common industry practices the federal government has determined are, in this particular case, appropriate and beneficial to federal healthcare programs and their beneficiaries.”

Continue Reading DOJ Moves to Dismiss 11 Patient Assistance Services FCA Cases

After years of investigation and litigation, and on the eve of a highly anticipated trial, the government abandoned its FCA case against ManorCare, the nation’s second-largest operator of skilled nursing homes and assisted living centers.  In a joint motion filed on November 8, 2017, the government announced that it would move for dismissal with prejudice of U.S. ex rel. Ribik v. HCR ManorCare Inc., No. 1:09-cv-00013 (E.D. Va.).  The move marks an unexpected victory for ManorCare and a significant defeat for the government, which was seeking to recover over $500 million in damages and fines in the case.

Continue Reading DOJ Bows Out of ManorCare FCA Case

Bass, Berry & Sims is pleased to provide its annual Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Review, which highlights significant enforcement trends and legal developments, discusses recent cases and settlements affecting the healthcare industry, and provides an outlook on what lies ahead in 2015.

During the previous year, Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys have represented virtually every type of provider in the healthcare industry in civil and criminal healthcare fraud investigations and related litigation. We have incorporated this experience into our Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Review for the benefit of our clients and friends and hope that the Review will be a valuable resource for healthcare providers facing complex compliance and fraud and abuse-related issues.

The Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Review offers a concise discussion and analysis of such topics as:

  • False Claims Act Update
  • Noteworthy Healthcare Settlements
  • Pharmaceutical and Device Developments
  • Medicare Contractors and Related Litigation
  • Stark/Anti-Kickback Statute Developments

If you have any questions about the Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Review or other healthcare fraud and abuse issues, please contact one of the authors.