Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Justice Department Recovers Billions in Health Company Fraud

Apparently, it pays off economically for healthcare companies such as Pfizer, AstraZenica and Novartis to rip off the government, and therefore rip us off. I say their executives need to start doing some time.
The Justice Department says it has recovered a record $2.5 billion in health care fraud over the past year — mostly with the help of drug company employees who blow the whistle to the federal government.

The big-ticket settlements mostly came from Pfizer, AstraZenica and Novartis, pharmaceutical companies accused of questionable marketing practices or overbilling federal insurance programs.

"This administration has made health care fraud a priority," said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the department's civil division. "When you look at health care fraud and the recoveries that we've been able to obtain over the last two years, it's been about $4.6 billion. That's more money recovered in a two-year period than at any other time in history." NPR
DOJ press release:
$2.5 Billion Health Care Fraud Recovery Largest in History — More Than $27 Billion Since 1986
WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice secured $3 billion in civil settlements and judgments in cases involving fraud against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010, Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, announced today. This includes $2.5 billion in health care fraud recoveries—the largest in history—and represents the second largest annual recovery of civil fraud claims. Moreover, amounts recovered under the False Claims Act since January 2009 have eclipsed any previous two-year period with $5.4 billion in taxpayer dollars returned to federal programs and the Treasury. Recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, now total more than $27 billion.

"Under Attorney General Eric Holder’s leadership, our aggressive pursuit of fraud under the False Claims Act has resulted in the largest two-year recovery of taxpayer dollars in the history of the Justice Department," Assistant Attorney General West said. "Nowhere is this more apparent than in our success in fighting health care fraud. Since January 2009, the Civil Division, together with the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, commenced more health care fraud investigations, secured larger fines and judgments, and recovered more taxpayer dollars lost to health care fraud than in any other two-year period."

Fighting fraud committed against public health care programs is a top priority for the Obama Administration. On May 20, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the creation of a new interagency task force, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), to increase coordination and optimize criminal and civil enforcement. These efforts not only protect the Medicare Trust Fund for seniors and the Medicaid program for the country’s neediest citizens, they also result in higher quality health care at a more reasonable price. Read more