While antipsychotics have become one of the biggest moneymakers in the drug industry, they have also become the subjects of several recent lawsuits involving violations of the False Claims Act. Each of the major drug companies has either recently settled a government case regarding false claims, or is being investigated for potential health care fraud.
These cases involve charges of illegal or questionable marketing of antipsychotics, including "payments, gifts, meals and trips for doctors, biased studies, ghostwritten medical journal articles, promotional conference appearances, and payments for postgraduate medical education that encourages a pro-drug outlook among doctors."
Former GAP client Allen Jones, a fraud investigator for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, discovered that pharmaceutical companies were promoting these new, very expensive antipsychotics that were no more effective than the off-patent, much cheaper, prior generation of drugs. Moreover, the new drugs caused some extreme side effects. Jones investigation resulted in the criminal conviction in 2008 of a state official who had a slush fund courtesy of the drug companies. Jones was fired for his whistleblowing but with GAP's assistance, he received a decent settlement.
USA Today: Food Safety Auditors Are Often Paid by the Firms They Audit
Investigations into the use of third-party auditors -- those hired by food companies to assure that their food suppliers' facilities are safe and clean -- have found that many auditors overlook serious safety problems. Furthermore, most food suppliers (rather than potential purchasers) are required to get and pay for their own audits.
One example of the failure of this third-party system is the Peanut Corp. of America, which received a "superior" rating at its Texas plant even though its salmonella-tainted peanut paste sickened more than 600 people. GAP has worked with Peanut Corp. whistleblower Kenneth Kendrick, who repeatedly tried to report violations at the company prior to the outbreak.
The New York Times: Case of Accused Soldiers May Be Worst of 2 Wars
A case being heard by a military court -- which involves an Army unit that repeatedly killed Afghan civilians for sport and took body parts for trophies -- could surpass all other cases of civilian killings in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Experts say the gruesome details of the case make it different, as well as the fact that soldiers in the unit killed civilians without provocation and under the ruse that they were being attacked.
Click here to read more about this case and comment on GAP's blog.
BBC News: University of Gloucestershire Whistleblower Wins Case
A business development manager from the University of Gloucestershire has been vindicated in court after blowing the whistle on her department's excessive spending on staff pay and overseas travel. The whistleblower will receive £6,000 for injury to her feelings.
Key Quote: "I never wanted to take my case to an external tribunal, but the internal procedures were flawed and, despite my best efforts, the university did not want to hear what I had to say, or address my serious concerns over financial flaws."
New York Post: Whistleblowers Rise to the FinReg Bait
Just one week after launching an advertising campaign around new legislation that rewards financial sector whistleblowers, a New York securities lawyer has received 25 calls from individuals wishing to report fraud. Although the SEC has not disclosed how many complaints it has received so far, the lawyer's experience may presage an additional increase in whistleblower claims at the SEC.
Lindsay Bigda is Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.