The False Claims Act is a federal whistleblower law, which allows private citizens to file actions against federal contractors and corporations, who conduct fraud against the government and the public. The act of filing such action is also known as “whistleblowing.” Persons filing under the Act stand to receive anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of any recovered damages as a whistleblower reward.

Pharmaceutical Whistleblower Cases

Pharmaceutical fraud cases represent the largest percentage of False Claims Act recoveries by the United States in qui tam whistleblower lawsuits.  Pharmaceutical fraud can take a variety of form. Pharmaceutical whistleblower cases involve issues such as:

  • Pharmacies or drug companies charging the government for drugs not used
  • Marketing, promoting, and selling drugs for uses other than those approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”)
  • Marketing drugs to physicians through illegal means, such as providing financial or other benefits, like expense-paid consulting trips to doctors

Pfizer Whisteblower Case

David Franklin, a microbiologist, is a famous whistleblower. In 2002,

Franklin filed a significant pharmaceutical lawsuits by suing his former employee, Pfizer, under the U.S. False Claims Act.   Franklin alleged that Pfizer illegally marketed Neurontin, an epilepsy drug, for unapproved uses.  Franklin claimed that Pfizer trained employees to use illegal tactics to persuade doctors to prescribe Neurontin for off-label uses, which are uses not listed in a medicine’s FDA approved label.  When Franklin refused to sell Neurontin off-label, two Pfizer executives threatened him “to get with the program.” Franklin resigned shortly after the incident.  Pfizer eventually pleaded guilty to marketing Neurotonin to treat various ailments that the FDA had not approved.  Pfizer ultimately paid $430 million to settle the case.  Franklin was awarded $26.6 million as a reward for emotional and financial damages as result of being a pharmaceutical whisteblower.

Finding a Pharmaceutical Whisteblower Lawyer

Attorneys at Bernstein Leibhard are experienced in representing plaintiffs in pharmaceutical whistleblower lawsuits. If you think you may have a pharmaceutical whistleblower case, contact one of our pharmaceutical whistleblower lawyers today.       

Published November 17, 2011 by