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Oklahoma Ambulance Provider Settles Whistleblower Kickback Allegations

An Oklahoma ambulance service provider will pay $300,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging it violated the federal False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute by engaging in an unlawful kickback scheme with a former Texas contractor. According to Tulsa World, a whistleblower lawsuit provided the basis for allegations lodged by federal officials. The complaint alleged that Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), its former president and CEO Stephen Williamson, and contractor Paramedics Plus LLC controlled a slush fund that they used to pay out more than $20 million in kickbacks, including $50,000 or more for Mr. Williamson’s personal benefit. The State ... Read More

Whistleblower Helps Medicare Recover $9.68 Million From Oxygen Supplier

Federal officials praised a whistleblower whose False Claims Act lawsuit against a Florida-based medical equipment supplier recovered $9.68 million for Medicare. U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown of the Eastern District of Texas said its multi-million-dollar settlement agreement with Rotech Healthcare Inc., a supplier of respiratory equipment and portable oxygen, resolves allegations that Rotech knowingly billed Medicare for portable oxygen supplies it provided to Medicare beneficiaries who didn’t need or use them. Rotech also admitted that it billed Medicare for oxygen supplies regardless of whether the supplies were delivered to beneficiaries. Medicare covers rentals of portable and stationary oxygen equipment for up ... Read More

Georgia Whistleblower Exposes $3.2 Million Kickback Scheme

A whistleblower who sued a group of Atlanta-area orthopedic and anesthesia providers for their alleged participation in an illegal kickback scheme has helped the U.S. government recover $3.2 million for Medicare. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the whistleblower lawsuit led to a settlement agreement between the federal government and Georgia Bone & Joint; Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center; Southern Crescent Anesthesiology; and Sentry Anesthesia Management, as well as nurse anesthetist David LaGuardia. The whistleblower complaint, brought by Sharon Kopko, former Practice Administrator for Georgia Bone & Joint, alleged that Mr. LaGuardia, Sentry, and Southern Crescent provided a free ... Read More

Woman pleads guilty for selling dangerous stimulant to supplement maker

A Chinese woman pleaded guilty in Texas federal court for selling stimulant ingredients to a dietary supplement maker in the U.S., knowing full and well those illicit ingredients would not be listed on the supplement’s label. Gao Mei Fang, also known as Amy Gao, admitted to selling the illegal stimulant DMAA to a dietary supplement manufacturer knowing that U.S. retailers couldn’t sell supplements with that ingredient. DMAA, or dimethylamylamine, is promoted for performance enhancement but it is not legal in the U.S. because it is considered unsafe. DMAA can increase heat rate and blood pressure, and increase the risk of ... Read More

Judge overseeing opioid MDL orders DEA to share information on opioid sales

The Ohio federal judge overseeing the massive multidistrict litigation involving local governments accusing pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors and pharmacies of fueling the opioid epidemic laid out timelines for an active litigation phase to work through difficult legal issues in order to expedite a settlement in the case. The Judge also directed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to pony up information about the sales of opioids, something the DEA has been reluctant to do. In addition to the two orders, U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster also consolidated three lawsuits in the MDL brought by Ohio local governments and scheduled them ... Read More

Second Xarelto side effects trial underway in PA

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer failed to warn doctors about the significantly increased risk of internal bleeding their blood thinner Xarelto posed to patients who were also taking other antiplatelet medications, attorneys for a man suing the companies said during opening arguments in the second trial in a mass tort program in Philadelphia County. In 2013, Plaintiff Daniel Russell had a stent placed to treat a blocked coronary artery. He also had an irregular heartbeat. At that time, he was prescribed two anti-platelet medications, aspirin and Plavix, to prevent blood clots. Soon after, his heart was shocked back ... Read More

Jury to decide whether J&J talc caused man’s mesothelioma

For years, Johnson & Johnson hid from consumers the fact its talcum powder products contained asbestos by using tests that wouldn’t detect the cancer-causing mineral, according to attorneys for a man suing the consumer health care company over claims the products caused him to develop mesothelioma. Stephen Lanzo III claims that he used Johnson & Johnson products daily – including Johnson’s Baby Powder – for about 40 years, never knowing that the talcum powder contained asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral often found in talc. When inhaled, it can cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer that affects the lining ... Read More

Ohio Sues Monsanto Over PCB Pollution

The State of Ohio filed a lawsuit against Monsanto March 5, alleging the agrochemical giant polluted the state with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and concealed its knowledge of the chemical’s toxic effects for decades. Environmental scientists from coast to coast are finding rivers, lakes, wetlands, shorelines, harbors, and other environmental habitats contaminated with residual PCBs. Monsanto manufactured virtually all the PCBs in the world starting in 1929 until they were banned in 1977. Monsanto sold its PCBs to other companies, which used them in manufacturing a multitude of products, including paint, ink, caulk, sealants, lubricants, electrical equipment, and carbonless copy paper, to name a ... Read More

Caleb Schwab’s Accidental Waterslide Death Leads To Murder Charges

Individuals and companies involved in the ownership, operation, and construction of the Verrückt waterslide in Kansas City, Kansas, find themselves facing charges of murder and other serious crimes over the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab. Caleb, the son of Kansas State Representative Scott Schwab, was decapitated when his raft went airborne on a hill of the Verrückt waterslide on Aug. 7, 2016. The 17-story waterslide was named the world’s tallest waterslide by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014, shortly after it opened in the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in 2012. On Tuesday, March 27, a Wyandotte County grand jury indicted ... Read More

Jury enters deliberations in first Bard IVC filter trial

Jury deliberations have begun in the first bellwether trial in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) against C.R. Bard over claims that its blood clot-catching device fractured and migrated inside a patient’s body causing serious and life threatening injuries. Plaintiff Sherr-Una Booker was 37 when she was implanted with Bard’s G2 IVC filter to protect her from pulmonary embolism, or blood clots in the lungs. The G2 is a small cage-like device that is implanted into the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower extremities. It is designed to capture blood clots before they reach the ... Read More