A Florida Company refused to become discouraged when the U.S. Department of Justice refused to intervene in a whistleblower (Qui Tam) case filed by the company against drug maker Actavis. The Complaint alleged that Actavis, an Iceland based company, inflated the wholesale prices it charged for medicines knowing that government agencies would rely on that pricing to set its reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys claimed that when Actavis falsified the pricing data, it knew that it would skew the reimbursements. The fraudulent pricing would result in Actavis receiving more money for drug reimbursements from United States sales. The Whistleblower challenged the overcharging in state court in Texas. It won a jury award of $170 million dollars.
Most recently, the Florida whistleblower (Ven-A-Care) settled claims on behalf of the United States, and four other States. Actavis agreed to pay more than $118.6 million dollars in that agreement. The four states; New York, Florida, South Carolina and Iowa, who joined the Whistleblower in lawsuits against Actavis, will each benefit from the settlement. The U.S. government will receive $71.1 million, New York will get $22.2 million, Florida $10.5 million, South Carolina $6.2 and Iowa will receive $1.2 million. The Whistleblower will receive $2.8 million dollars as a fee and attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs of the action.
What makes this case more significant is that the Whistleblower is a specialty pharmacy that has continued to file suits against overbilling drug manufacturers risking retaliation, and investing its own time and money to litigate the claims. Those efforts have paid off for the public and for the Whistleblower.
Since the year 2000, according to published reports, Ven-A-Care has won or settled claims for more than $3 billion dollars that will reimburse various states and the federal government. Ven-A-Care has earned approximately $400 million dollars as a Whistleblower in those cases.