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Health-care whistleblowers



They're cashing in millions in qui tam recoveries in league with the semi-autonomous Health Care Fraud Unit, which operates within the U.S. Attorney's office for Massachusetts. According to renowned Boston attorney Harvey Silverglate, however, the success in white-collar enforcement is based in part on "in terrorem misuse of some of the nation's broadest -- and vaguest -- criminal statutes and regulations". It hasn't always met with success:

Last July, the U.S. Attorneys lost a prosecution in Boston when 10 employees of TAP Pharmaceuticals refused to plead guilty and instead went to trial contesting the unit's claim that their discounted sales and promotional practices--common in the industry--constituted illegal kick-backs and bribes.

The employees' case initially seemed doomed: The company itself had pled guilty and agreed to pay a then-record $885 million. TAP agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, waived its attorney-client privilege, and provided prosecutors with statements made by employees to company lawyers during an internal investigation.

Topping that, both the government's star witnesses, a former TAP employee and a physician in a managed-care practice that bought TAP drugs, had received "whistle-blower" bonanzas of $77 million and $17 million (the latter split with the HMO), respectively. The former TAP employee banked $47.5 million more for whistle-blowing in a related federal prosecution of drug maker AstraZeneca.

A jury wasn't impressed and acquitted the defendants.

P.S. More from the American Spectator.

 

 


Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.