A qui tam suit filed in Southern Illinois by a former class action lawyer at Tom Lakin’s Wood River firm may be dismissed, along with nearly identical suits filed nationwide.
Richard Burke is suing drug maker UCB and retailer CVS, seeking treble damages for allegedly unlawful marketing schemes, plus civil penalties and restitution to the U.S. government and 27 states.
Burke charges that UCB provided free services to health providers to induce them to recommend an anti-inflammatory drug developed for overactive immune systems. He contends that claims submitted by pharmacies to Medicare and Medicaid were tainted by kickbacks.
But the federal government has blown the whistle on Burke and the other whistleblowers.
Having spent hundreds of hours investigating false allegations of kickbacks, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking federal judges to dismiss the meritless lawsuits filed in their courts under the federal False Claims Act by Burke and other attorneys on behalf of Health Choice Group and various other shell companies.
“Having completed its investigation, and finding the allegations to lack sufficient merit to justify the cost of investigation and prosecution and otherwise be contrary to the public interest, the United States now seeks to dismiss these actions,” the DOJ motion states.
“By utilizing cloned complaints and information gleaned from its fictitious ‘research study,’ [the shell group] advances sweeping allegations of nationwide misconduct by thirty-eight different defendants – allegations that, for Medicare Part D alone, implicate more than 73 million prescriptions written by hundreds of thousands of different physicians for millions of different Medicare beneficiaries,” the motion asserts.
“In this case dismissal is appropriate because it is rationally related to the valid governmental purposes of preserving scarce government resources and protecting important policy prerogatives of the federal government’s healthcare programs,” the motion concludes.
DOJ attorneys have spent more than 1,500 hours investigating the complaints.
DOJ’s motion to dismiss should be granted, and Burke, et al. should be investigated for possible misuse of a good law, clogging our courts with frivolous litigation, wasting taxpayers’ money, and giving legitimate whistleblowers a bad name.