It’s apparent that the fraudulent billing of Medicare/Medicaid, primarily by pharmaceutical companies, are increasing our nation’s healthcare costs. Over the past few years, we have seen numerous cases filed by whistleblowers on behalf of the United States government and state governments to recover taxpayers’ money. Lawyers in our firm are continuing to investigate claims of incorrect or mislabeled National Drug Codes used fraudulently to bill the government. This practice has badly hurt the American taxpayers.
Whistleblowers have helped recover hundreds of millions of dollars in a time where both federal and state governments, due to budget shortfalls, are having to cut back on prosecutors’ resources. Omnicare Inc., which is no stranger to allegations of fraudulently charging Medicare and Medicaid, settled allegations of fraud in November 2009 for nearly $100 million. According to a recently-filed whistleblower lawsuit, their getting caught hasn’t deterred them from committing additional fraud against the taxpayers.
A recent whistleblower case filed in the Northern District of Illinois by Peter Ordeanu, alleges that Omnicare “defrauded the government by dispensing drugs with different National Drug Code [numbers] on the label than the actual drug dispensed in order to inflate government reimbursements.” The National Drug Code is a unique ten digit numeric identifier assigned to each drug listed under Section 510 of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The National Drug Code is assigned to drugs for identification purposes.
Ordeanu claimed in his suit that “Omnicare regularly inflated the amount of money billed for by dispensing drugs with a National Drug Code number on the label that was different from the drug dispensed.” This use of an incorrect National Drug Code number allegedly allowed Omnicare to fraudulently receive millions of dollars from the government.
While American taxpayers are already suffering from tough economic conditions, it’s outrageous that all too many companies are profiteering through fraudulent billing methods in government programs. It’s more than likely that many other schemes – similar to what is alleged in the Omnicare suit –are occurring throughout the healthcare industry. The use of incorrect National Drug Codes is illegal and badly hurting economic recovery efforts.
Whistleblowers helped the government recover $2.3 billion in 2011. Since 1986 the amounts recovered in these lawsuits were over $34 billion. Fortunately, the federal False Claims Act gives citizens who know of fraudulent schemes against the government the right to file a complaint and keep between 15% and 30% of the ultimate recovery. Any person having any information regarding the rampant fraud occurring in the healthcare industry against the federal or state governments, can be a whistleblower. Andrew Brashier, a lawyer in our firm, has been investigating False Claims Act cases. If you have any questions or believe you may be a whistleblower, Andrew can be reached at 1-800-898-2034, 334-269-2343, or Andrew.Brashier@BeasleyAllen.com
Sources: Courthouse News Services, www.pharmacyfraudsettlement.com.
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