US Joins Whistleblower Case Against Novartis

The US DOJ announced that it is intervening in a qui tam whistleblower case under the False Claims Act against Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation.  The suit alleges that from 2001- 2011, Novartis marketed Cardiovascular drugs, including Lotrel, Valturna, Starlix, Texturna, Diovan and Exforge, through a variety of “pay to play” schemes that involved  kick-backs to physicians to encourage them to continue to prescribe these drugs.  As a result of the kickbacks, federal and state-funded healthcare programs were fraudulently billed for reimbursement for Novartis products.  “Novartis’ pervasive business practices to fraudulently market numerous drugs including Lotrel, Valturna, Starlix, Texturna, Diovan and Exforge, cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars” said Eric L. Young, counsel for the relator.

In September 2010, Novartis paid $422 million in criminal and civil fines and penalties to settle a case involving the payment of kickbacks to physicians who prescribed Trileptal, Diovan, Zelnorm, Sandostatin, Tekturna, and Exforge.

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