Wednesday, November 02, 2005

TN Firm Overcharges Feds and You for Drugs

Billions of dollars in overcharges for Medicaid, for the Veterans Administration and other government agencies are to be repaid by U.S. drug companies, including Bristol, TN-based King Pharmaceuticals, which has settled and agreed to pay back $124 million. And which oversight agency caught this fraud? None. The cases are part of a suit filed under the federal False Claims Act by former King employee Edward Bogart.

The AP story is here, a U.S. Newswire press release is here, and as the Knoxville News-Sentinel notes, this story has major impact on the umpcoming Tennessee legislative committee hearings on campaign finance. The company's founder and former CEO John Gregory has already been taking heat for the millions he has funneled to the state GOP. State Dems have been calling it "dirty money".

The nationwide anti-fraud investigation by the Justice Dept. has brought settlements from King and other companies to just over $3.1 billion. One group happy by the news about King, is Mylan Laboratories, which had made a bid earlier this year to by King. But Mylan has issues to cope with on its own, facing similar complaints from Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, Wisconsin, New York and on and on it goes.

Good thing we citizens have the False Claims Act and at least some interest in the Justice Department for the fraud, the theft, the old-fashioned hijacking of tax dollars to benefit big business and the Republican party.

As for Edward Bogart - the man who blew the whistle on King - he stands to earn a percentage of the settlement since he used the False Claims Act with his suit. And there are other legal firms who are focusing on just these types of cases, which you can read for yourself if you search for the phrase "False Claims Act" with your favorite internet search engine.

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