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April 26, 2013 – On April 23, 2013, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a civil healthcare fraud lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant, Novartis. The Government’s Complaint, filed under the False Claims Act, alleges that Novartis gave kickbacks in the form of rebates and discounts to more than 20 pharmacies in exchange for them switching transplant patients from competitor’s drugs to Novartis drug, Myfortic.

April 26, 2013 – On April 23, 2013, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a civil healthcare fraud lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant, Novartis. The Government’s Complaint, filed under the False Claims Act, alleges that Novartis gave kickbacks in the form of rebates and discounts to more than 20 pharmacies in exchange for them switching transplant patients from competitor’s drugs to Novartis drug, Myfortic.

The Government’s Complaint alleges that since 2005, Novartis has engaged in a scheme of paying illegal kickbacks, disguised as “performance” rebates and discounts to pharmacies with influence over prescription decisions. In one instance, Novartis allegedly offered a pharmacist a “bonus” rebate equal to 5% of annual Myfortic sales, amounting to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Novartis’ kickback scheme violates the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits the offer or payment of rebates and other types of remuneration to induce the purchase or recommendation of any drug or service covered by a government health program. Novartis’ alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute gave rise to false claims that were submitted to Medicare and Medicaid amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

Less than three years ago, Novartis settled similar charges that it paid kickbacks and illegally promoted drugs for off-label uses. As part of the settlement, the company signed a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, which required reforms including a compliance program relating to promotional activities.

For more information – http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/April13/NovartisLawsuitPR.php

If you have information regarding pharmaceutical fraud, healthcare fraud or government fraud occurring anywhere in the United States, contact a whistleblower attorney at Levy Konigsberg LLP at 800-315-3806, or toll free at 1-800-988-8005, for a free consultation.

IMPORTANT: If you believe you have evidence of fraud against the government, securities fraud, commodities fraud or IRS or New York State tax fraud, contact us for a free, confidential consultation by calling our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-988-8005 or by submitting an email inquiry (see form above).

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