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California Whistleblower Case Against BP Recovers $102 Million

BP has agreed to pay $102 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought under California’s False Claims Act alleging the oil company intentionally overcharged the state for natural gas for more than a decade. The law firm representing the whistleblower in the case said it is the largest whistleblower settlement involving an oil company in California’s history, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The case started on July 3, 2012, when former BP employee Chris Schroen filed a whistleblower complaint with the state alleging BP was knowingly quoting and charging the state gas prices above the contractual price cap. The ... Read More

Auto Safety Advocates Seek Release of Goodyear Tire Death Documents

Auto safety advocates are heaping pressure on federal authorities to divulge documents relating to Goodyear’s G159 tire, which has been linked to hundreds of tire-blowout crashes involving motorhomes, causing dozens of injuries and deaths. According to Arizona’s The Republic, the Center for Auto Safety, the nation’s leading auto safety advocacy group, has filed a request to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the Freedom of Information Act seeking death and injury claim information, tire-testing results, and other information concerning the Goodyear tires. Litigation involving Goodyear’s G159 tires has been ongoing for years, but the manufacturer’s lawyers successfully lobbied ... Read More

Whistleblowers Aid in $24 Million Recovery From Kool Smiles Dental Chain

Multiple whistleblower lawsuits alleging a pediatric dental chain and a dental management company systematically defrauded Medicaid programs in several states have led to a settlement of nearly $24 million. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Kool Smiles Dental Clinics and dental management company Benevis LLC (formerly NCDR LLC) conspired to bill Medicaid programs for root canals and other dental procedures on children that weren’t medically necessary or never provided. According to the whistleblower complaints, Kool Smiles, which operates more than 130 dental clinics in 17 states, routinely pressured and incentivized dentists to meet production goals through a system that ... Read More

Lilly pulls Axiron from Korean market

Eli Lilly & Co. has taken its topical testosterone replacement therapy Axiron off the market in Korea after gaining the blessing of the country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The company said that it made the decision to withdraw the treatment from the market in Korea due to several factors including “low male menopause awareness and the existence of substitutable medicines.” Axiron was developed by Australian pharmaceutical company Acrux and marketed by U.S.-based Lilly. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 for the treatment of hypogonadism, a condition in which men do not ... Read More

Judge aims to do ‘something meaningful’ to curb opioid epidemic

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster, the Ohio federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation (MDL) targeting drug manufacturers and distributors for fueling the opioid epidemic, emphasized the urgency in dealing with the litigation and the importance of doing “something meaningful to abate this crisis and to do it in 2018,” during the first hearing in the MDL. Addressing a crowded courtroom in the Northern District of Ohio, Judge Polster set a goal of drastically reducing the number of painkillers prescribed in the U.S. – medications that will kill more than 50,000 Americans in the year ahead. Judge Polster pointed out ... Read More

Xarelto, Eliquis antidote review postponed

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has postponed its decision whether to approve an antidote to the blood thinners Xarelto and Eliquis, pushing the action date from early February to early May in order to consider additional information it had requested from the manufacturer. The news came as a blow not only to Portola Pharmaceuticals, maker of the antidote called AndexXa, but also to Eliquis’ Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Xarelto’s Johnson & Johnson and Bayer. “The agency has instituted an extension to allow more time for a thorough review of the information provided and to work with the company ... Read More

Supplement maker sued by FTC over false claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing CellMark Biopharma LLC and its founder over the marketing of dietary supplements that claim to treat cancer-related malnutrition and improve cognitive impairment. The FTC alleges that from January 2016 to January 2017, founder Derek Vest and his company marketed and sold a malnutrition-fighting supplement drink called CellAssure and a cognitive impairment-fighting supplement Cognify as clinically proven to treat these conditions. But, the FTC charges, there are no human tests with these products to back up the claims. These false claims violate the FTC Act, and as a result, the supplement company should be ... Read More

Team of lawyers to assist with lawsuits targeting opioid makers

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster approved a team of 22 lawyers to oversee the more than 180 lawsuits against companies accused of helping to fuel the national opioid epidemic. The team includes many of the same attorneys who helped land the $246 billion settlement with Big Tobacco. The proposed slate is broken down into various committees and working groups, and has room for more attorneys. The groups would be overseen by a plaintiffs steering committee, which has yet to be decided. A larger and much more detailed system for tackling the opioid litigation is needed because it is too large ... Read More

Whistleblower Settles Retaliation Complaint With Bowling Alley

A mechanic who filed a whistleblower retaliation complaint against the Chicago-area bowling alley where he formerly worked will receive $40,000 in back wages as part of a consent judgment between the employer and federal regulators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said the mechanic filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Lucky Strike Entertainment LLC, a bowling center in Lombard, Illinois, terminated him in June 2015 in retaliation for voicing concerns about unsafe working conditions. Federal statutes regulating workplace safety prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who raise concerns over workplace conditions or practices that put the safety and health ... Read More

Utah Doctor Faces False Claims Act Allegations

A physician slated to oversee medical studies of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a cannabis compound that could be beneficial in treating epileptic seizures and other health problems, is facing a federal False Claims Act complaint accusing him of overbilling Medicare. Ogden, Utah’s Standard-Examiner reports that the False Claims Act lawsuit accuses Dr. Steven Warren of Bountiful, Utah, of improperly billing Medicare 80 times between February 2012 and July 2014 for visits to nursing home patients outside of Utah and receiving overpayments as a result. Under the False Claims Act, health care providers that improperly bill Medicare and other government health care ... Read More