$21 Million Dollar DUSA Pharmaceuticals False Claims Act Whistleblower Settlement
Some of the best whistleblower law firms have invoked the “Lincoln Law”, one of the oldest and most powerful statutes of America, entitled the False Claims Act (“FCA”) or sometimes colloquially referred to as the Whistleblowers Act has been increasingly invoked during recent times, with recoveries over $3 billion for each fiscal year in the last decade. The qui tam provisions of the Act allow private individuals with inside knowledge of systemic fraud against the Government of the United States to file a lawsuit on behalf of the Government in federal court through the use of a whistleblower lawyer. In fact, recent settlements in False Claims Act lawsuits have yields tens and hundreds of millions of dollars of recovery for the taxpayers, particularly involving unearthing fraudulent practices involving healthcare programs including Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, and TRICARE Fraud.
In another sensational case exposed by a courageous whistleblower utilizing the qui tam provisions of the Act, DUSA Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, paid $20.75 million to the Federal Government. It was alleged that DUSA ignored the appropriate treatment method as dictated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Dosage and Administration division with respect to one of its drugs in order to increase its sales. The drug was generally prescribed to treat actinic keratosis or small scaly lesions which form on the skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun. While clinical trials have found that the best method to use this drug is to apply it to the affected areas and leave it for about 14-18 hours before treating it with a blue light, DUSA promoted the use of the drug for a period of merely 1-3 hours to encourage patients to utilize the drug multiple times and therefore, increase sales. In fact, it was also revealed that DUSA had been paying physicians since 2014 to encourage them to advertise the use of the drug for shorter durations. Thus, by knowingly promoting an incorrect process for administration of the drug, DUSA not only submitted false claims to Medicare, but also contravened the product instructions approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and potentially put patients at risk
Both DUSA and Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries have entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of the Inspector General to ensure that its methods and standards are appropriate to prevent any such practices from being adopted in the future. Meanwhile, the qui tam provisions have also ensured that the whistleblowers are entitled to 15-30% of the settlement amount via the False Claims Act. Therefore, in this case, the whistleblower award or the amount the whistleblower could receive is approximately $3.5 million for his contribution in uncovering the truth.
While speaking about the case, the hard working attorneys at the United States Attorney’s Office expressed the frustration customers are forced to endure due to the recklessness of DUSA in promoting inappropriate instructions for drug use merely to increase their sales and profits thereby undermining the health of patients and the integrity of the healthcare system. The government is committed to combat all kinds of Medicare frauds occurring in the country.
Whistleblowers who are privy to inside information should consult with a whistleblower law firm to educate themselves about their rights. Firms like Brown, LLC, led by former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown are a good resource to consult with since they offer free, confidential consultations and have a track record of success, although nothing is ever guaranteed. Even if you don’t consult with the whistleblower lawyers at Brown, LLC you should speak with a whistleblower law firm as litigating qui tam matters are highly complex and need to be conducted in the correct manner or you run the risk of ruining the whistleblower case right from the beginning.
 United States of America ex rel. Chung v. DUSA Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 16 cv 1614-JLR.
United States Department of Justice, DUSA Pharmaceuticals To Pay U.S. $20.75 Million To Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating To Promotion Of Unsupported Drug Administration Process, August 24, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/dusa-pharmaceuticals-pay-us-2075-million-settle-false-claims-act-allegations-relating.