The False Claims Act (FCA) has teeth. It calls for triple damages where a defendant does not admit to its liability promptly. It permits a whistleblower to receive up to 30% of the recovery which incentives qui tam individuals with information to come forward and blow the whistle on unlawful conduct which mainly involves stealing from the taxpayers. Well, if there’s a relator / whistleblower behind the Amerisource Bergen Corp (ABC) case, the whistleblower award could very well be over $100,000,000, that’s a hundred million dollars for doing the right thing, as the company told shareholders it is setting aside $575 million to handle the FCA allegations.
ABC pled guilty to a criminal count for allowing tainted drugs to make it to the United States and circumventing the FDA. With the criminal plea for defrauding the FDA back in September 2016, ABC agreed to pay $260 million. But that wasn’t enough as allegedly its subsidiary company Medical Initiatives Inc., continued to submit or knowingly allow false claims to be submitted to the government.
If you think defrauding the government out of hundreds of millions is dirty and disgusting, wait until you read what they did with the underlying medicine that was supposed to be distributed. The company captured overfills from medicine that was supposed to be sterile and allowed it sit in a dirty unsterile environment and contaminate. It then used the overfill as floaters and sold what it had already sold to others by repackaging it without regard for patient safety and deliberately circumventing the FDA. There’s no way to say this is not profits before people and despite the False Claims Act potential settlement and the criminal conviction, unless and until companies are held accountable to the same account individuals are and people are jailed for such conduct, companies will continue to profit and put people at risk for those profits.