Off-label drug marketing, pharma fraud, patient harm, whistleblowing

The authors are former prosecutors who now represent whistleblowers / Renée Brooker (former Assistant Director for Civil Frauds) reneebrooker@finchmccranie.com (202) 288-1295 / Eva Gunasekera (former Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud) eva@finchmccranie.com

The Department of Justice needs whistleblowers to report fraud involving kickbacks or off-label drug marketing, which can lead to patient harm.  As one example, Abbott Laboratories and AbbieVie Inc. paid $25 million for allegations that it paid kickbacks to prescribers of the drug TriCor and unlawfully marketed the drug for off-label uses.  The whistleblower, a former Abbott sale representative, received $6.5 million as her share of the recovery in the case.  The United States Attorney described how the case was not possible without a whistleblower putting the Government onto the fraud:  “We thank [the whistleblower] for coming forward and providing essential assistance to the government.  Preserving government program funds would be far more difficult without [whistleblowers] who are willing to shine a spotlight on alleged illegal practices like the ones involved in this case.  [The whistleblower’s] efforts, and those of her attorneys, were critical to our favorable resolution of this case.”

Guidance is available for how to blow the whistle on your employer.  Reaching out to a former prosecutor who represents whistleblowers is a helpful first step.  An attorney can guide you through the process, assist you with documenting your concerns, answer your questions and instruct you on the nature and strength of evidence you do have.  A good whistleblower attorney will provide you a free consultation.  You should seek out an accomplished attorney as soon as you have concerns, and while you are still employed by the company where you believe there is wrong-doing.  Bottom line:  don’t do it alone.  Get an expert opinion from a prosecutor who’s tried False Claims Act cases and has significant experience under their belt.