In this post, I will be focusing on the intersection of off-label communications with government enforcement of health care fraud through the False Claims Act. Over the past eight years, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has been particularly aggressive in using the False Claims Act to pursue recoveries from individuals, health care providers, and drug manufacturers that participate in federal health benefit programs. In fact, from 2009 to 2016, DOJ collected $19.3 billion from health care False Claims Act settlements and judgments, with $2.5 billion recovered in fiscal year 2016, alone. (More DOJ false claims statistics can be found here.) DOJ’s enforcement efforts are not solely targeted against garden variety billing fraud, but also involve claims arising from alleged violations of health care regulatory requirements. Among other things, the DOJ has been targeting claims for reimbursement for off-label uses of regulated products. DOJ’s aggressive policy of holding manufacturers accountable for off-label claims under the False Claims Act is entirely consistent with FDA’s stance on off-label communications as described in the January memo. However, recent court interpretations of off-label communications as protected First Amendment speech, as well as interpretations of the causality component of False Claims Act claims, have apparently caused DOJ to reconsider its strategy with respect to such cases. Continue Reading The Past, Present, and Future of Government Regulation of Off-Label Communications – Part 5
In July 2015, we posted about the N.Y. Attorney General’s False Claims Act (FCA) settlements with Trinity HomeCare and its related entities, and how the case provided insight into the future of FCA enforcement. We identified five key trends based on the settlements:
- The FCA cases were based on qui tams and pursued by the State Attorney General after federal government declination.
- The FCA cases were based on a narrow, single state or regional arrangement, as opposed to allegations of a national scheme or program.
- One of the FCA cases was based on conduct about which Trinity had previously been warned.
- The FCA cases were based on government billings for specialty drugs.
- All parties to the arrangement were named as defendants in the qui tams.
Trinity was already under investigation by the N.Y. Attorney General’s office for its billing of hemophilia drugs (the basis of the first 2015 settlement) when a second qui tam alleged that Trinity submitted false claims in connection with a specialty drug used to treat premature infants at risk for lung disease. That second qui tam led to the second settlement and now, almost 20 months later, has led to a new Complaint. Continue Reading Five Trends in False Claims Act Enforcement: Take Two