Qui Tam attorneys in Florida have successfully sued pharmaceutical giant Endo Pharmaceuticals under the provisions of the False Claims Act, earning $140M for the United States Federal Government. Whistleblower, Peggy Ryan, was awarded 24% of that settlement, or 33.6 million dollars.
Peggy Ryan, a sales employee with Endo Pharmaceuticals, came forward with evidence of the company’s fraudulent marketing more than a decade ago. A complaint was filed in 2005 regarding the off-label marketing and distribution of the drug Lidoderm, a topical medication manufactured in patch form indicated for the relief of post-herpetic neuralgia, or after-shingles pain. Ryan and other salespeople were encouraged to push the use of Lidoderm as treatment for unapproved conditions, including low-back pain and carpel-tunnel syndrome. “I just did not feel comfortable doing that,” Ryan said.
For almost ten years, Ryan and her attorneys built a case against Endo®, requiring intense dedication from Ryan. U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania spoke highly of her contributions to the case, saying, “…Ryan continually provided access behind the corporate walls of Endo. Ryan’s insider status, conferred by her employment with Endo, enabled the government investigatory team to recover evidence which would have otherwise been unobtainable.” Judge Kelly went on to say that throughout the investigations, Ryan wore a wire and recorded some 200 hours of conversations that uncovered the illegal marketing practices surrounding Lidoderm. She turned over thousands of documents, including promotional sales materials, off-label studies, and call-plans that explicitly required sales reps to convince doctors to prescribe Lidoderm off-label. One of Ryan’s recordings provided a sound bite of a Lidoderm project manager saying that 97-98% of Lidoderm’s prescriptions were off-label.
Someone who comes forward with viable, credible, information pointing to any type of fraud or misappropriation of money, labor, resources, etc is a whistleblower. Whistleblowers can be company insiders with intimate knowledge of fraudulent schemes, or they can be un-related citizens with legally obtained knowledge of fraud. Either way, it is important for a whistleblower to secure legal representation when aiming to file a qui tam lawsuit and “blow the whistle” on fraudulent actions or transactions.
Qui tam cases require significant resources and legal knowledge to be successfully carried out. The law is complex and only an experienced and qualified qui tam attorney will know how to keep a whistleblower client safe from company retaliations. A qui tam attorney will also be able to negotitate with the United States Government for the best possible recovery percentage if and when defendants are found guilty and monies are recovered.
Qui tam attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced and qualified to take on your case; armed with the necessary resources to gain access to, analyze, and exhibit all incriminating records to build your case and successfully prove fraud. The qui tam attorneys at Messa & Associates understand the provisions of the False Claims Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act and will protect your rights every step of the way.
If you believe you have information that proves fraud and would like to come forth with that information on behalf of the United States Government, contact a whistleblower attorney at Messa & Associates. Call 1-877-MessaLaw to speak with a qualified attorney about your potential whistleblower claim, or submit a free, online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More