Another tool in effectively treating the opioid crisis is using the False Claims Act (FCA) and encouraging whistleblowers to come forward with information regarding dirty doctors and pharmaceutical companies. In fact, just recently there was a 1.6 billion dollar whistleblower settlement involving insiders who utilized the false claims act to obtain a whistleblower award in the hundreds of millions. In order to address the Opioid problem we need to understand the question, one of which is, “How were people thrust into this cycle of addiction and how do we break it?”
First, we need to examine the origins of pill pushing and who profits from it the most, who profits it from it somewhat and who suffers. We can start with the last part first, suffering from the opioid crisis are the people addicted to the product and the insurance companies and the taxpayers.
When someone is prescribed opioids it is supposed to be a short-term fix for a temporary pain problem. If the pain lasts longer than a few weeks than the origin of the pain should be addressed, or else continued pain pills can become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. It’s amazing invariably every time there’s a development in combatting opioids and we blog about it, then people write us complaining that they need these drugs and we’re shutting down their avenues to obtain them rather than reflecting about addiction. For every one person that writes about that, scores of people write about how opioids have decimated their life, how their body has deteriorated from drug usage, how they are so addicted, that their only thoughts are about how to get more drugs and how they need to take more and more pills, and will do anything for them to even achieve a little bit of relief. No one wants to start off an addict and no one thinks they will become addicted, but there are plenty of addicts. There is a human face to addiction, and a trail of bodies and stories.
In the wake of the human tragedy, there is the financial costs, which is in the billions, but still pales in contrast to the human suffering. There is massive Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, and Insurance Fraud related to the opioid crisis. Just like a cycle of dependence and addiction, there’s a cycle of billing and economics that fuels the crisis.
It starts with the pharmaceutical companies who develop products and while the products have the ephemeral fix, they have an addictive kick. The pharmaceutical companies know that the quick fix has addiction risks and should be cautioning people about the addiction and carefully and cautiously monitoring the situation, but from the cruel world of corporate profits over people, it’s that addiction that’s the precise hook for the profits. Even when the drug company may have had fine print in the labels warning of the risks of addiction, in reality, they were promoting it off-label for extended use and chronic prescription for nothing but profits.
And then there’s the dirty doctors themselves, the Dr. FeelGoods and the pain pushing clinics. They profit from the addiction by billing Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance for pills and chronic treatment that could’ve been ended had the patient received honest treatment. Some of these doctors and clinics engage in kickback schemes that violate the Anti-Kickback Statute portion of the False Claims Act, and they violate them in some of the most creative and gruesome ways imaginable. Simple kickbacks include cash for bringing in patients, drugs for bringing in patients. Culling for patients they comb homeless shelters, or drug rehab clinics. The incentives include bussing people in, offering them free trips, casino runs, or other promises and inducements for keeping the merry go round of addiction and profits going around and round.
Some lawsuits tackle the problem head-on by suing for the damage it caused to the individual. Other lawsuits like the False Claims Act Whistleblower Opioid lawsuits go to tackle the root of the issue, the prescribing doctors and the pharmaceutical companies who created the circumstances that have caused the plague.
The recent 1.6 billion dollar settlement against a pharmaceutical company originated with a courageous doctor who recognized the problem, and those involved in perpetuating the problem. The lawyers at Brown, LLC actively utilize the False Claims Act (FCA) statute to aggressively attack the Opioid crisis by going after the dirty doctors, medical providers and pharmaceutical companies. If you are in the inside of an Opioid pain pushing facility or even if you’re addicted, but are aware of the same the facility is engaged in you should call the whistleblower lawyers at Brown, LLC at (877) 561-0000 to learn your rights and to find out if you qualify for a whistleblower award.