Civil enforcement under the False Claims Act continues to be critical in the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat the country’s opioid epidemic. We certainly see those efforts affecting the pharmaceutical industry as well. (LINK to DOJ Press Release on $5.6 Billion in 2021 False Claims Settlements).
Many of these lawsuits are only made possible due to private individuals acting under the False Claims Act’s whistleblower provisions. Such was the case when a whistleblower provided evidence to a law firm that a North Georgia healthcare provider was submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for opioid prescriptions that were not medically necessary. (LINK to DOJ Press Release on North Georgia False Claims Settlement). Ultimately, the healthcare provider paid $130,000 to settle the suit, and the whistleblower, a former employee of the healthcare provider, collected 20% of those settlement proceeds. With opioid abuse and overdoses still on a significant rise, whistleblowers will continue to remain essential in the government’s efforts against those responsible for “triggering and fueling the opioid epidemic”. (LINK to Story on Overdose Death Rates).