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35 states file antitrust lawsuit against drug companies alleging unlawful marketing of addiction treatment

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Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia are accusing British drugmaker Indivior of unlawfully manipulating the marketplace to maximize profits when it allegedly conspired to keep less expensive, generic versions of the narcotic addiction treatment Suboxone off the market, California’s attorney general announced. The states filed an antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Indivior and MonoSol Rx, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical dissolving-film company. In 2002, Indivior was granted exclusive rights to market Suboxone tablets until 2009. When the patent expired, the attorneys general claim that Indivior worked out a deal with MonoSol ... Read More

J&J thwarted in attempt to postpone talc trial starting this week

talc ovarian cancer

The third state court trial over the alleged ovarian cancer risks of Johnson and Johnson’s talc powder products is scheduled for Monday, Sep. 26 in Missouri. Jury selection should begin this week. The trial was almost postponed when Johnson and Johnson tried to have the trial removed to federal court. In 2014, J&J had attempted to have the same batch of 45 cases removed from state court for the same reasons, claiming that the cases were “fraudulently misjoined in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction.” Both in 2014 and last Wednesday, Sept. 21, U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton found that the ... Read More

Cop’s False Claims Act Lawsuit Could Have Ripple Throughout Law Enforcement

Police Car Lights

The U.S. Justice Department has called on the federal court in Boston to reconsider a False Claims Act lawsuit filed against the Brockton, Mass., Police Department by a police detective who alleges he was fired in retaliation for assisting someone who was falsely arrested. Former homicide detective Ken Williams, who has been with the Brockton Police Department for 15 years, filed the lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act in 2012. The Justice Department investigated Mr. Williams’ allegations but declined to intervene. The lawsuit was then unsealed and a federal judge dismissed some of its key allegations. ... Read More

California Nursing Home Operator, Execs to Pay U.S. $30 Million For Fraudulent Medicare Billings

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A California-based nursing home operator and two of its executives have agreed to pay the U.S. $30 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit accusing the company of billing Medicare and other government health care programs for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services. Under the terms of the agreement announced Monday, North American Health Care Inc. of Orange County, Calif., will pay the U.S. $28.5 million. The company’s chairman of the board, John Sorenson, will pay $1 million toward the settlement, and senior vice president of Reimbursement Analysis, Margaret Gelvezon, will pay $500,000. North American Health Care is a private, ... Read More

Southern California Settles Gas Leak Criminal Case For $4 Million

Aliso Canyon natural gas leak - Courthouse News image

The gas company responsible for a massive gas leak that polluted the air in the Los Angeles area for months has agreed to pay $4 million to settle criminal charges stemming from its failure to properly notify authorities about the leak. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) pleaded no contest to end a criminal case brought against it by Los Angeles County prosecutors, who alleged the utility waited days to report its gas leak near Porter Ranch, which blasted tons of methane gas into the air from Oct. 23, 2015, until Feb. 18, 2016. While the agreement settles the county’s ... Read More

Illinois Home Health care Company Owner Pays $6.8 Million, Faces Prison Time For Kickback Scheme

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The owner of an Illinois-based home health care company admitted in federal court last week that he paid illegal kickbacks to 20 medical directors to acquire referrals of elderly Medicare patients. Between December 2006 and September 2014, Romy Macasaet Jr., owner of Home Bound Healthcare Inc. of Lemont, Ill., paid more than $789,000 in bribes to the medical directors who sent Medicare patients his way in exchange for the money. The illegal kickbacks resulted in Mr. Macasaet receiving Medicare reimbursements worth millions of dollars, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Zachary Fardon. Mr. Macasaet used various agreements ... Read More

Health site warns readers of drugs involved in major lawsuits; Nexium makes the list

FDA APPROVES ASTRAZENECA'S NEXIUM(TM) FOR  ACID REFLUX DISEASE

Health and Fitness Cheatsheet acknowledges that many of its readers may find it necessary to be on prescription medication. With that necessity comes many anxieties over their health and the safety of the medications they are taking. The health site recently featured an article that addresses its readers’ worries that their medication might be causing major lawsuits, and what that might mean for them. “…it can be extremely troubling when you see that your prescribed medication is causing a major lawsuit. You may feel as though you’re putting your own life at risk. With so many prescription drugs out there, ... Read More

Chipotle food poisoning victim requests free burritos as part of settlement

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A 19-year-old woman who was one of more than 500 people sickened during one of several foodborne illness outbreaks at Chipotle Mexican Grill locations in multiple states across the country says despite being hospitalized with E.coli after eating one of the restaurant’s burritos and racking up about $40,000 in medical bills, her love for Chipotle’s food never waned. While her attorney was working with the restaurant to get his client financial compensation, the woman made a startling request. Would Chipotle throw in some free burritos as part of the settlement? Her attorney had handled countless food poisoning cases in the ... Read More

Florida Pain Clinics Pay $7.4 Million To Settle Billing Fraud Case

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Coastal Spine and Pain, an operator of 10 pain-management clinics in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, has agreed to pay the U.S. government $7.4 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging its clinics performed medically unnecessary and costly drug screening procedures to boost its reimbursements from Medicare and other federal health care programs. The settlement relates to Coastal’s routine use of “quantitative drug tests,” which identify and count particles of illicit drugs in a patient’s urine. The use of these very specific and extremely costly tests is appropriate only when there is reason to doubt the results of more general ... Read More

Walmart agrees to remove verification statement from Spring Valley dietary supplements

walmart

Walmart has agreed to remove a verification statement from its store-brand Spring Valley dietary supplements nationwide after the Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller raised concerns that the statement could give consumers “a mistaken impression as to what product features an independent lab actually verified.” The statement “Verified by an independent, certified laboratory” is listed on the labels of about 60 Walmart store-brand Spring Valley dietary supplements, such as saw palmetto, St. John’s wort, Echinacea and garlic. The independent lab, however, only confirmed certain Walmart supplements contained the primary ingredients specified on the product’s label. For example, the lab verified that ... Read More