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Almashat Et Al Public Citizens Health Research Group Report on Criminal and Civil Monetary Penalties Against Pharma 1991-2010

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Rapidly Increasing Criminal and Civil Monetary Penalties
Against the Pharmaceutical Industry: 1991 to 2010
December 16, 2010
Sammy Almashat, M.D., M.P.H, Charles Preston, M.D., M.P.H,
Timothy Waterman, B.S., Sidney Wolfe, M.D.
Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY................................................................................................................. 2
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 4
METHODS AND DEFINITIONS ...................................................................................................... 4
RESULTS ........................................................................................................................................ 9
DISCUSSION ................................................................................................................................ 19
APPENDIX 1: METHODS AND DATA SOURCES ...................................................................... 23
APPENDIX 2: ADDITIONAL FIGURES ........................................................................................ 26
REFERENCES .............................................................................................................................. 32

1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Background
U.S. spending on prescription drugs has increased from $40 billion in 1990 to
$234 billion in 2008. In this era of rapidly rising drug costs, the illegal
pharmaceutical company activities that have contributed to such inflated
spending have garnered a significant amount of media attention. Recent billiondollar settlements with two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world,
Eli Lilly and Pfizer, provide evidence of the enormous scale of this wrongdoing.
However, the total size, varied nature, and potential impact of these illegal and
potentially dangerous activities have not been previously analyzed. This study
examined trends from 1991 to the present in federal and state criminal and civil
actions against pharmaceutical companies in order to address these questions.
Analysis
The purpose of this study was to compile a comprehensive database of all major
criminal and civil settlements between federal and state governments and
pharmaceutical companies. Press releases from both federal and state
governments, in addition to existing online databases, were used to identify all
settlements of at least $1 million during the past 20 years.
Main Findings
•

Of the 165 settlements comprising $19.8 billion in penalties during this 20year interval, 73 percent of the settlements (121) and 75 percent of the
penalties ($14.8 billion) have occurred in just the past five years (20062010).

•

Four companies (GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Schering-Plough)
accounted for more than half (53 percent or $10.5 billion) of all financial
penalties imposed over the past two decades. These leading violators
were among the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

•

While the defense industry used to be the biggest defrauder of the federal
government under the False Claims Act (FCA), a law enacted in 1863 to
prevent defense contractor fraud, the pharmaceutical industry has greatly
overtaken the defense industry in recent years. The pharmaceutical
industry now tops not only the defense industry, but all other industries in
the total amount of fraud payments for actions against the federal
government under the False Claims Act.

•

The practice of illegal off-label promotion of pharmaceuticals has been
responsible for the largest amount of financial penalties levied by the
2

federal government over the past 20 years. This practice can be
prosecuted as a criminal offense because of the potential for serious
adverse health effects in patients from such activities.
•

Deliberately overcharging state health programs, mainly Medicaid
fraud, has been the most common violation against state governments
and is responsible for the largest amount of financial penalties levied by
these governments. This type of violation is also the main factor in the
considerable increase in state settlements with pharmaceutical
companies over time.

•

Former pharmaceutical company employees and other “whistleblowers”
have been instrumental in bringing to light the most egregious violations
and have been responsible for initiating the largest number of federal
settlements over the past 10 years. From 1991 through 2000, qui tam
(whistleblower) cases made up only 9 percent of payouts to the
government, but from 2001 through 2010, they comprised 67 percent of
total payouts.

Conclusion
Over the past two decades, especially during the past 10 years, there has been a
marked increase in both the number of government settlements with
pharmaceutical companies and the size of the accompanying financial penalties.
The reasons for these increases are likely related to a combination of increased
violations by companies and increased enforcement on the part of federal and
state governments.
The danger to public safety and the loss of state and federal dollars that comes
with these violations require a more robust response than the government’s
current practices. Given the relatively small size of current financial penalties
when compared to the perpetrating companies’ profits, both increased financial
penalties and appropriate criminal prosecution of company leadership may
provide a more effective deterrent to unlawful behavior by the pharmaceutical
industry.

3

Introduction
In the past few years, the pharmaceutical industry has come under increasing
scrutiny for myriad criminal and civil violations. 1 It seems as if almost every week,
a new settlement is announced. Why this is happening is a question for debate.
But what is clear is that pharmaceutical companies are being more aggressive
than ever before in the marketing and sales of their products and in maximizing
their profit margins. 2, 3
Governments have struggled to keep pace with the increase in these companies’
aggressive tactics. The federal government has imposed some of the largest
criminal fines ever for activities such as off-label promotion. 4 And as state
Medicaid programs have struggled with high enrollments 5 and dire budgetary
conditions, an increased focus has been placed on rooting out Medicaid fraud. 6
This study examines trends in, and details of, major federal and state
government settlements with pharmaceutical companies over the past two
decades. A database of civil and criminal settlements involving these companies
was compiled, including the type of violation and the amount of money paid as a
result of each settlement. From this database we explore various aspects of this
serious problem, such as time trends in company payouts, individual company
totals, the nature of actions taken (civil vs. criminal, federal vs. state), and major
laws that were allegedly violated. To our knowledge, this is the first study that
attempts to document and analyze all major pharmaceutical company
settlements with both federal and state governments.

Methods and Definitions
This study sought to compile a comprehensive database of all major federal and
state government settlements finalized against pharmaceutical companies over
the past 20 years (1991-2010), through November 1, 2010. Cases were excluded
if the company was not predominantly a pharmaceutical manufacturer, if the total
financial penalty for a settlement was less than $1 million, or if the wrongdoing
concerned a product that was not a pharmaceutical (e.g., if the product was a
medical device). After determining inclusion and exclusion criteria, we created a
database of relevant entries using an Excel spreadsheet. To obtain data, we
searched a number of different publicly available databases.
We obtained at least one official state or federal government press release for all
included cases. A single case was defined as involving one or more companies
4

in which there was a single settlement with the federal and/or state government.
In cases where documentation of the exact details of original settlements could
not be obtained, the language of related government press releases was used to
determine how many separate cases were involved. If a release mentioned a
singular “settlement,” regardless of how many companies or states were
involved, it was counted as one case in our database. If a release mentioned
plural “settlements” and there was a breakdown of amount paid by company,
then each company’s settlement was counted as a separate case. For further
details of the Methods, see Appendix 1.
Laws Being Violated and Legal Definitions
Details of various laws pertaining directly to the violations described in this paper
are presented below:
The False Claims Act (FCA) is a commonly used legal tool to prosecute fraud
against the government. Originally enacted in 1863 during the Civil War to
combat defense contractor fraud, the FCA was weakened in 1943 in the midst of
World War II. Responding to a growing awareness of contractor fraud against the
federal government, the FCA was strengthened by Congress through various
amendments in 1986. These amendments included protection of whistleblowers
from employer retaliation and increased financial rewards for coming forward. 7
The qui tam (whistleblower) provisions are a key part of the act, allowing private
citizens to bring to light illegal activities that may initiate prosecution of the
offending companies. These amendments have made the FCA a central tool in
fighting corporate fraud against the federal government. In the 2005 Deficit
Reduction Act (DRA), Congress provided incentives for individual states to enact
or strengthen their own FCAs to encourage prosecution of Medicaid fraud. As of
2009, 14 states had FCAs that were DRA-compliant. 8 In 2009 and 2010, the FCA
was further amended to close an existing loophole (2009) and to further
encourage whistle blowers to come forward (2010). 9 Violations of the FCA result
in civil, rather than criminal, penalties.
The other major federal law used to take action against certain pharmaceutical
activities is the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), which covers regulatory
violations against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDCA, enacted
in 1938 and since amended, forms the basis for the regulation of
pharmaceuticals, including the prohibition of making false therapeutic claims
about a product, including off-label promotion. 10 Violations of the FDCA that
involve illegal off-label marketing can be prosecuted as criminal or civil violations,
with the decision to pursue criminal charges depending on such factors as the
seriousness of the violation and the level of threat to public safety. 11 Other
5

federal laws cited to prosecute the companies include the Anti-Kickback Statute,
the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and various environmental laws, such as the
Clean Air Act.
In addition to state FCA laws, several states have laws specifically covering
Medicaid fraud (e.g., Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act) and consumer
protection (e.g., West Virginia Consumer Protection Act) that have been invoked
to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for violations.
Violation Types
In this study, federal and state violations were classified into nine general
categories: overcharging government health programs, unlawful promotion,
monopoly practices, kickbacks, concealing study findings, poor manufacturing
practices, environmental violations, financial violations, and illegal distribution.
(Explanations of each category are shown in Table 1.) These violations do not
necessarily coincide with the actual laws allegedly violated (see legal definitions
above).

6

Table 1. Types of Violations by Pharmaceutical Companies.
Type of Violation

Description

Overcharging Government Health 
Programs

Inflating the average wholesale price (AWP) of products, failing to give the 
lowest market price to government health programs, or failing to pay 
required rebates to any government health program

Unlawful Promotion

Off‐label promotion of drug products or other deceptive marketing 
practices (e.g., downplaying health risks of a product)

Monopoly Practices

Unlawfully attempting to keep monopoly patent pricing privileges on 
products, or collusion with other companies undertaken with the purpose 
of increasing the market share of a particular product

Kickbacks

Kickbacks (e.g., monetary payments) to providers, hospitals, or other 
parties to influence prescribing patterns in favor of the company

Concealing Study Findings

Concealing results of company‐sponsored studies from either the federal or 
state governments

Poor Manufacturing Practices

Selling drug products that fail to meet FDA standards or specifications (e.g., 
contaminated or adulterated products, or products that fail to meet size or 
dosage specifications)

Environmental Violations

Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act violations, or failing to meet federal 
emissions standards

Financial Violations

Accounting or tax fraud, or insider trading

Illegal Distribution

Distributing an unapproved pharmaceutical product

Criminal vs. Civil Settlements
Criminal settlements, or criminal components of larger settlements, were defined
as those in which there was a financial penalty labeled a “criminal” fine for
violation of a law or if a penalty was ordered to be paid as part of a court criminal
judgment or plea agreement. All other financial penalties were defined as civil
(e.g., FCA violations). Civil-criminal settlements were defined as those containing
both civil and criminal financial penalties.
Federal and State Analyses
Once a complete list of cases was compiled, we classified cases as either federal
or state settlements. Cases were classified as state settlements if there was no
involvement of any federal government agency in either the investigation or
7

negotiation phases of the settlement. All other cases were classified as federal,
including joint federal-state cases (e.g., those involving Medicaid).
FCA Analysis
In analyzing FCA violations in the defense and pharmaceutical industries, all
totals represent only the portion of the civil settlement paid to the federal
government. For pharmaceutical industry totals, settlements in our database in
which the federal portion was not specified were excluded from the total amount.
Federal FCA statistics for the Department of Defense, the Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS), and all other industries combined were obtained
from the Department of Justice (DOJ) at the following URL:
http://www.justice.gov/civil/frauds/fcastats.pdf. 12 The DOJ statistics represent
total settlement monies paid out by fiscal year (FY) to the federal government.
However, settlement dates in our data set do not necessarily correlate with the
actual dates that monies were paid out to the federal government, leading to a
possible discrepancy in annual totals when comparing our data with that of the
federal government.
In addition, data were obtained from the Office of Inspector General of HHS and
the DOJ that presented total annual (FY) settlement monies with both federal and
state governments involving each sector within the healthcare industry for all
violations. The FCA portion was not specified. 13
Annual pharmaceutical industry FCA totals were calculated from our data, as
described above. We used the total settlement data within other (nonpharmaceutical) sectors of the health industry to see how the pharmaceutical
industry FCA payouts compared to each of these other health sectors, such as
durable medical equipment (e.g., medical device) providers, hospitals, etc.
Qui tam Analysis
Only federal settlements were used for the qui tam analysis. Settlements
identified as qui tam cases were those in which there was any mention in the
press release of a qui tam provision being invoked, or any mention of a
whistleblower being responsible for triggering the investigation. The vast majority
of qui tam cases typically arise under the FCA, but at least four other federal
statutes also have qui tam provisions. 14

8

Company Totals
We obtained total settlement amounts by company by reviewing the amount paid
by each company in each settlement. A case was attributed to any company that
was included in the settlement agreement, regardless of the amount paid by the
company. In several cases, the amount paid by each company could not be
determined. These cases (representing less than 3 percent of all financial
penalties) were therefore excluded when calculating total financial penalties by
company. Settlements were recorded in the database under each company’s
parent company at the time of the final settlement. We used the date of the
settlement notice to determine which company should be held accountable when
a company with a past violation merged with or was acquired by another
company. If the final settlement occurred after the acquisition or merger, then the
new parent company was considered the liable party, regardless of when the
actual violations took place. When presenting company totals, we used the most
current parent company names; for companies not currently existing
independently, we used the parent company’s name at the time of the most
recent settlement.

Results
Overall Trends
Annual pharmaceutical company settlements with both federal and state
governments have increased significantly over the past 20 years. In total, 165
civil and/or criminal settlements of $1 million or more were made between the
government and pharmaceutical companies from 1991 to 2010 * , with settlement
amounts totaling $19.81 billion. Although there is some variation by year
(calendar years are used for all annual totals, unless otherwise indicated), a clear
upward trend is evident. Both the number of settlements (Figure 1) and the total
amount of financial penalties (Figure 2) have increased, roughly in parallel.
Approximately three-fourths of all settlements (73 percent, 121 settlements) and

*

Data used in this study are through November 1, 2010. There has been at least one other large
federal settlement since these data have been finalized, involving three drug companies (Abbott,
B. Braun Medical, and Roxane Laboratories) paying a total of $421 million dollars in a settlement
announced on December 7, 2010: Catan T. Drug Makers Agree to $421 Million Settlement. Wall
Street Journal. 8 Dec 2010. Web. Accessed on December 10, 2010.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703296604576005674095414668.html?KEYWO
RDS=medicare

9

total dollars paid out (75 percent, $14.8 billion) during this 20-year period were
made in just the past five years (2006-2010).
From a total of just $10 million in 1991, pharmaceutical industry financial
penalties rose to a peak of $4.41 billion in 2009. The number of settlements rose
from one in 1991 to a peak of 38 in 2009. A similar increase is seen in the
average financial penalties paid per settlement, from $37 million per settlement in
the 1990s (1991-2000) to $128 million per settlement in the current decade
(2001-2010). Financial penalties for individual cases ranged from $1 million (the
lowest threshold reported in this study) to $3.4 billion (in one case in 2006,
accounting for the spike in financial penalties that year).

Figure 1. Number of Pharmaceutical Industry Settlements, 1991‐2010
40

38

35
32

Number of Settlements

30
27

25
20
15

14

10

9

5
1

0

1

1

2
0

3

3
1

1

2

2

Year

*2010 data include only the first 10 months 
of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

10

2

10
8

8

Figure 2. Pharmaceutical Industry Financial Penalties, 1991‐2010
5000
4405
3976**

4000

3517

3500
3000
2500
2000
1441 1445

1500
1000

Year

*2010 data include only the first 10 months 
of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

2010*

2009

**One settlement with GlaxoSmithKline for $3.4 billion 
accounts for the spike in financial penalties in 2006.

Federal and State Settlements
The majority of settlements (99) were brought and settled by states, either
individually or as multi-state actions. Sixty-six involved federal government
action, including joint federal-state cases. However, federal settlements
comprised a greater sum of total financial penalties ($17.55 billion or 88.6
percent) than state settlements ($2.27 billion or 11.4 percent). At the federal and
state level, both the number and dollar amount of settlements have been
increasing substantially since 1991 (Appendix 2, Figures A and B). All but eight
of the federal cases were settled, and almost all of the federal financial penalties
(99.5 percent) were imposed during or after the year 2001. Almost three-fourths
(71 percent) of the number of state settlements have occurred within the past
three years (Appendix 2, Figures A and B).

11

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

100

2003

1994

3

2002

1993

4

2001

1992

7

1999

1991

10

1998

0

1997

1

1996

22

1995

10

999 1067

549

404

500
0

967

889

2000

Financial Penalties ($ millions)

4500

Civil vs. Criminal Settlements
Overall, civil cases made up the majority of settlements (83 percent or 137) and
total financial penalties (77 percent or $15.3 billion). (See Appendix 2, Figures C
and D.) This was true at both the federal and state levels. However, criminal
penalties have increased significantly in the past five years to comprise onefourth (25 percent) of all financial penalties, compared to only 16 percent of all
penalties in the preceding fifteen years.
Federal False Claims Act (FCA): During the past decade, the pharmaceutical
industry has significantly overtaken the defense industry—and all other
industries—in defrauding the federal government under the FCA
Data from the Department of Justice 15 shows that annual federal FCA settlement
totals for all industries have increased dramatically over the past 20 years, from
$341 million in fiscal year (FY) 1991 to $3 billion in FY 2010. The proportion
attributed to all Health and Human Services (HHS) cases (i.e., cases that involve
pharmaceuticals and other health care industries), increased from 4 percent of
the total in FY 1991 to 84 percent in FY 2010. The totals for the pharmaceutical
industry during these intervals are from our study, and represent only those
cases in which the federal portion of the FCA penalty could be determined from
the press release. Therefore, the amounts presented below are an underestimate
of the actual pharmaceutical industry total.
Figure 3 shows a comparison of federal FCA financial penalties paid out over
time by the defense and pharmaceutical industries. While the defense industry
constituted a much larger proportion of federal FCA totals during the 1990s (30
percent from FYs 1991-2000) compared to the pharmaceutical industry (0.15
percent from FYs 1991-2000), the pharmaceutical industry became the
predominant offender of the two in the current decade. As shown in Figure 3, the
pharmaceutical industry did not comprise a substantial portion of federal FCA
penalties until FY 2002, when it overtook the defense industry for the first time.
For every year since and including FY 2007, the pharmaceutical industry total
has far exceeded the defense industry total.
As stated above, the total healthcare industry (as represented by HHS totals),
has been the biggest defrauder of the federal government under the FCA for
most of the past decade. Defense industry payments and the combined total for
all other (non-defense and non-HHS) sectors each represent an amount smaller
than the pharmaceutical industry total alone since FY 2007. 16 In addition, since
FY 2008, the pharmaceutical industry’s FCA payments have exceeded the total
law-violation payments of each of the other sectors within the health industry. 17
12

Therefore, because the pharmaceutical industry’s FCA payouts exceed those of
all other industries outside of HHS and all of the other sectors within HHS, the
pharmaceutical industry has been the single largest defrauder of the federal
government under the FCA for the past three fiscal years (since FY 2008).

Figure 3. Federal False Claims Act (FCA): 
Financial Penalties by Industry
1400

Financial Penalties ($ millions)

1200

1164

989

1000
800
640
593

600

617 634

560

Defense
465

400
285

200

312
294

251
113

149 136

140
67
10

46

34

140
120
84
32

144
49

1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010

0

261

221

191

Pharmaceutical*

438

Fiscal Year

*Pharmaceutical totals include only those cases in which the federal portion of 
the FCA penalty was specified in the press release. All other settlements, and all 
non‐federal FCA penalties, were excluded from the totals.

Qui tam (whistleblower) Settlements
The qui tam provisions of the FCA have resulted in qui tam settlements
becoming an increasingly large proportion of both the number of settlements and
the total financial penalties paid to the government (Appendix 2, Figures E and F,
respectively). From 1991 through 2000, qui tam cases made up only 12 percent
of the number of all federal settlements and 9 percent of the total payouts to the
13

government. From 2001 through 2010, however, they comprised 59 percent of
settlements and 67 percent of total payouts. Over the 20-year period, qui tam
settlements also yielded a greater average per-settlement total ($335 million;
median $150 million) than all other federal settlements ($188 million; median $25
million).

Worst Offenders and Largest Settlements
Individual Companies: Total Penalties, 1991-2010
Table 2 details the 20 pharmaceutical companies that paid a total of at least $100
million each in financial penalties over the past 20 years. The four worst
offenders, with at least $1 billion in penalties each, were GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer,
Eli Lilly, and Schering-Plough. Together they accounted for more than half (53
percent) of all financial penalties paid out by pharmaceutical companies.
Twenty Largest Settlements, 1991-2010
The 20 largest settlements over the past two decades are shown in Table 3. In
the largest settlement of the past 20 years, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay the
federal government $3.4 billion in 2006 for failing to pay required taxes over a 17year period. 18 The second and third largest settlements included the two largest
criminal fines ever levied by the federal government against any company. In
January 2009, Eli Lilly was forced to pay $515 million (the largest criminal fine
ever received by a corporation at that time) and Pfizer, later that year, was fined
$1.2 billion (the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the U.S.). Both companies
were fined for illegal off-label promotion. 19, 20 The majority (14) of the 20 largest
settlements have occurred within the past five years (2006-2010), consistent with
the dramatic increase in pharmaceutical industry financial penalties in recent
years. Of note, almost all cases (16 of 20) involved violations of the federal FCA,
at least in part. Multiple blockbuster drugs (i.e., those with sales exceeding $1
billion per year), such as Neurontin (gabapentin), were involved in these
settlements. For example, in the Pfizer case of 2004, the company was charged
with illegal off-label promotion of Neurontin, a drug which in 2002 generated 94
percent of its $2.27-billion revenue from off-label use. 21

14

Table 2. Pharmaceutical Company Penalties: Worst Offenders
Company*

Total Financial Penalties 
1991‐2010**($ millions) 

Percent of Total 
(%)***

 GlaxoSmithKline

4501

22.7

 Pfizer

2935

14.8

 Eli Lilly

1712

8.6

 Schering‐Plough

1339

6.8

 Bristol‐Myers Squibb

890

4.5

 AstraZeneca

883

4.5

 TAP Pharmaceutical Products

875

4.4

 Merck

806

4.1

 Serono

704

3.6

 Purdue

620

3.1

 Allergan

600

3.0

 Novartis

524

2.6

 Cephalon

425

2.1

 Johnson & Johnson

353

1.8

 Forest Laboratories

313

1.6

 Sanofi‐aventis

310

1.6

 Bayer

301

1.5

 Mylan

267

1.3

 Teva

181

0.9

 King Pharmaceuticals 

167

0.8

 Other****

595

3.0

*Parent company names are current names without corporate (e.g. inc. or plc) designations. If
company is non-existent now, name at time of most recent settlement was used.
**Data for 2010 include only the first 10 months of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)
***Percent of $19.813 billion in overall penalties. Percents do not add up to 100% as some cases
were excluded due to inability to determine individual company share in settlement
****Other companies (in order of total penalties paid): Abbott; Genentech; Boehringer Ingelheim;
BASF; AkzoNobel; InterMune; Biovail Pharmaceuticals; Dey; KV Pharmaceutical; UCB; Sandoz;
Jazz Pharmaceuticals; Baxter; Amgen; Geneva Pharmaceuticals; Bolar; Cell Therapeutics;
Medicis; Novo Nordisk; Modern Wholesale Drug Midwest; Warner Chilcott; Barr Pharmaceutical;
Lonza; Perrigo; Actavis; Warrick Pharmaceuticals; Warner-Lambert; Otsuka; Alpharma; Circa
Pharmaceuticals; Takeda; Watson; McNeil Consumer Products; Mitsui; Evonik; Sumitomo;
Vertellus; Nepera; Mitsubishi; Tanabe; Chinook; Daiichi; Eisai; Andrx

15

Table 3. Top 20 Largest Pharmaceutical Company Settlements, 1991-2010
Company

Total 
Penalty

Violation(s)

Year

Major Drug
Products 
Involved

Laws Allegedly Violated (if 
applicable)

GlaxoSmithKline

$3.4 billion

Financial Violation

2006

Pfizer

$2.3 billion

Unlawful Promotion; 
Kickbacks

2009

Bextra; 
Geodon; 
Zyvox; Lyrica

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

Eli Lilly

$1.4 billion

Unlawful Promotion

2009

Zyprexa

False Claims Act; Food,
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

TAP Pharmaceutical
Products

$875 million

Overcharging Govt Health 
Programs;  Kickbacks

2001

Lupron

False Claims Act; 
Prescription Drug Marketing 
Act

GlaxoSmithKline

$750 million

Poor Manufacturing 
Practices

2010

Kytril; 
Bactroban; 
Paxil CR;
Avandamet

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

Serono

$704 million

Unlawful Promotion; 
Kickbacks; Monopoly 
Practices

2005

Serostim

False Claims Act

Merck

$650 million

Overcharging Govt Health 
Programs; Kickbacks

2008

Zocor; Vioxx;  False Claims Act; Medicaid 
Pepcid
Rebate Statute

Purdue

$601 million

Unlawful Promotion

2007

Oxycontin

False Claims Act

Allergan

$600 million

Unlawful Promotion

2010

Botox

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

AstraZeneca

$520 million

Unlawful Promotion; 
Kickbacks

2010

Seroquel

False Claims Act

Bristol‐Myers
Squibb

$515 million

Unlawful Promotion; 
Kickbacks; Overcharging 
Govt Health Programs

2007

Abilify; 
Serzone

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

Schering‐Plough

$500 million

Poor Manufacturing 
Practices

2002

Claritin

FDA Current Good 
Manufacturing Practices

Schering‐Plough

$435 million

Unlawful Promotion; 
Kickbacks; Overcharging 
Govt Health Programs

2006

Temodar; 
Intron A; K‐
Dur; Claritin 
RediTabs

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

Pfizer

$430 million

Unlawful Promotion

2004

Neurontin

False Claims Act; Food,
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

Cephalon

$425 million

Unlawful Promotion

2008

Actiq; 
Gabatril; 
Provigil

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

Novartis

$423 million

Unlawful Promotion; 
Kickbacks

2010

Trileptal

False Claims Act; Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetics Act

AstraZeneca

$355 million

Overcharging Govt Health 
Programs

2003

Zoladex

Prescription Drug Marketing 
Act

Schering‐Plough

$345 million

Overcharging Govt Health 
Programs; Kickbacks

2004

Claritin

False Claims Act; Anti‐
Kickback Statute

Forest Laboratories

$313 million

Unlawful Promotion; 
Concealing Study Findings; 
Kickbacks; Illegal 
Distribution

2010

Levothyroid;  False Claims Act; Food, 
Drugs, and Cosmetics Act
Celexa; 
Lexapro

Johnson & Johnson 
(State settlement)

$258 million

Unlawful Promotion

2010

Risperdal

16

Medical Assistance Program 
Integrity Law

Types of Violations
Violations were classified into nine general categories (as explained in Table 1).
The frequency and total financial penalties for each violation are shown in
Figures 4 and 5, respectively. Overcharging government health programs
comprised the largest number of settlements (Figure 4), while unlawful promotion
resulted in the single largest amount of financial penalties (Figure 5). Several
categories of violations had financial penalties disproportionate to the number of
settlements they comprised, demonstrating that certain violations (financial
violations, such as tax fraud) were penalized more severely than others
(overcharging government health programs like Medicaid). This was partly
explained by the extent to which the violations were part of federal or state
settlements, as state settlements had much lower financial penalties than federal
settlements. For example, overcharging government health programs constituted
43 percent of all violations, but only 12 percent of total financial penalties. The
majority of these violations (71 percent) were part of smaller state settlements. In
contrast, for financial violations, one case (in which the penalty was $3.4 billion)
accounted for almost all financial penalties ($3.56 billion).

Figure 4. Types of Pharmaceutical Industry Legal Violations, 
1991‐2010 (n=184)*
Overcharging Government Health 
Programs (80)

1
6

5

4 4

Unlawful Promotion (47)

Monopoly Practices (20)

17
Kickbacks (17)

80
Concealing Study Findings (6)

20
Poor Manufacturing Practices (5)

Environmental Violations (4)

Financial Violations (4)

47

Illegal Distribution (1)

*Through Nov. 1, 2010. Some settlements involved more than one type of violation.

17

Figure 5. Pharmaceutical Industry Financial Penalties by Type of Violation, 
1991‐2010* ($ millions)
48 31 16

Multiple Violations (7212)

832

Unlawful Promotion (4509)

1288

Financial Violations (3562)

2316

7212

Overcharging Government 
Health Programs (2316)
Poor Manufacturing Practices 
(1288)
Monopoly Practices (832)

3562
Kickbacks (48)

Environmental Violations (31)

4509
Concealing Study Findings (16)
*Through Nov. 1, 2010

On the federal level, the type of violation that accounted for a major part of the
increase in total financial penalties over time was unlawful promotion, of which
illegal off-label promotion was the main offense. From 1991 through 2005,
unlawful promotion constituted only 16 percent of all violations, comprising only
$516 million in financial penalties. Over the past five years (2006-2010), unlawful
promotion came to comprise over half (53 percent) of all violations, totaling at
least $3.3 billion in financial penalties, a six-fold increase in financial penalties for
this violation compared with the previous fifteen years. In comparison, total
financial penalties for all violations increased just three-fold over this same time
period.
On the state level, the most common violation was the overcharging of
government health programs, such as Medicaid. Since the first case was settled
in 2005, state settlements involving this violation have accounted for two-thirds
(66 percent) of cases (Appendix 2, Figure G) and almost half (47 percent) of all
financial penalties.
18

Discussion
Violations Are Increasing
In general, the amount of money paid out by pharmaceutical companies in
response to government action against their illegal activities is increasing at both
the federal and state levels. The past five years have seen the sharpest rise in
both number of settlements and total financial penalties. Although it is not
precisely clear why such a dramatic increase has occurred, it is likely attributable
to a combination of increased pharmaceutical company violations and increased
enforcement activities.
On the federal level, unlawful promotion was the violation resulting in the single
largest amount of financial penalties overall, and it was a major factor in the
dramatic increase in total penalties over time. This category mainly consists of
off-label promotion of drugs for indications not approved by the FDA, a practice
that can be dangerous to patients. For example, in 2009, Pfizer was charged with
illegally promoting Bextra (a pain medicine) for unproven, unapproved uses. The
FDA later removed Bextra from the market due to its dangerous side effects. 22
One reason why off-label promotion has become so widespread may involve the
fact that a decreasing number of important new drugs have come onto the
market over the past few years. 23 Thus, companies are likely under pressure to
maximize sales of their existing products by any means, including by illegally
promoting off-label use. This has been evident in the systematic and widespread
company practices 24 designed to increase market share. Studies have shown
that perhaps one of every five prescriptions dispensed are for off-label uses, with
even higher rates for certain medication classes, such as seizure and heart
medications. 25
On the state level, overcharging of government health programs, mainly
Medicaid, was the violation most responsible for the increase in settlements over
time, and it was the violation resulting in the largest number of state settlements
overall. This violation occurred primarily in the form of companies publishing an
average wholesale price (AWP) higher than the price the companies would
actually charge providers and pharmacies. Most state Medicaid programs rely on
these published AWPs to determine how much to reimburse providers and
pharmacies for drugs, 26 meaning that they end up paying greatly inflated prices
for the drugs. In some cases, state Medicaid programs were paying providers as
much as 12 times the actual cost of a drug. 27
One reason certain companies were responsible for a larger proportion of
violations than others may be that these illegal activities and subsequent financial
19

penalties are related to the financial position of the company. GlaxoSmithKline
and Pfizer were the worst offenders in terms of total financial penalties paid out,
and have been the two largest pharmaceutical companies in the world in total
sales for at least five of the past seven years. 28 Market share also is probably a
major factor. The federal FCA is structured to recoup “triple damages,” that is,
three times the amount of money lost to the federal government through fraud. It
follows that the greater the market share of a particular product, the greater the
cost to the government resulting from any violations related to that product,
leading to greater financial penalties under the FCA.
Current Enforcement Mechanisms
States are increasingly realizing the critical role of FCAs in combating Medicaid
fraud. The federal government provided incentives for states, through the Deficit
Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005, to enact strong FCA laws, with the primary goal
being to fight Medicaid fraud. As of 2009, although 32 states had enacted FCAs,
only 14 states had laws that met the DRA standard. 29 To ensure that states’
FCAs meet DRA standards, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of HHS
examines the laws and makes sure they conform to four criteria, including having
sufficiently high financial penalties and strong qui tam provisions. 30 For example,
after an OIG review, Louisiana made its existing FCA law compliant with the DRA
by, among other things, increasing the minimum civil penalties that would be
levied for violations of the law. 31 As state Medicaid programs continue to
experience budget crises, 32 and with the predicted growth of Medicaid over the
next ten years due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is likely that state
enforcement of laws against Medicaid fraud will become more of a priority.
On the federal level, the major driver of increased enforcement in recent years
has been the dramatic increase in qui tam cases in the past five to ten years,
now constituting the majority of federal settlements. These cases are initially
brought by former employees of pharmaceutical companies, and then are taken
up by federal and/or state enforcement agencies. However, the amendments to
the FCA, which afforded increased protection for whistleblowers, in addition to
increased financial rewards for coming forward, were enacted in 1986. 33 Thus, it
does not explain the more recent spike in these cases. More likely, the increased
publicity these settlements have been receiving may have emboldened more
industry insiders to come forward.

20

The Current System of Enforcement Is Not Working
Clearly, the continuing increase in violations by pharmaceutical companies
despite such large financial settlements is an indication that the current system of
enforcement is not working. The lack of criminal prosecution that would result in
jailing of company executives has been cited as a major reason for the
continuing large-scale fraud, in addition to the fact that current settlement
payouts may not be a sufficient deterrent. For example, GlaxoSmithKline and
Pfizer have paid out a combined total of $7.44 billion in financial penalties over
the past 20 years. These two companies made a combined $16.5 billion in global
net profits in one year alone. 34 Thus, these financial penalties, although
increasing, remain a very small fraction of company net profits and therefore do
not provide a sufficient deterrent against further violations. Increased
punishments may be needed, such as significantly larger financial penalties and,
if appropriate, felony prosecution—including jail—for company executives
engaging in criminal behavior. Eric Blumberg, the FDA Deputy Chief Counsel for
Litigation, addressed this issue recently, indicating that the government is
considering criminal prosecution of pharmaceutical company executives for
violations such as off-label promotion in the future. He noted:
“…unless the government shows more resolve to criminally charge
individuals—at all levels in the corporate hierarchy—…we can not expect
to make progress in deterring…off-label promotion.” 35
This more aggressive level of enforcement would be based on applying the “Park
doctrine,” a legal precedent that holds top corporate executives liable for illegal
conduct within their company, even if they didn’t know about or participate in it.
The main purpose of employing this standard is to force companies to
“…implement measures that will prevent [these] violations in the first instance,” 36
particularly in cases where public safety is at risk. In addition to the prospect of
jail time for individual executives, a felony conviction could result in their
companies becoming ineligible for reimbursement from federal and state health
programs, 37 a critical source of pharmaceutical company revenues.
Limitations and Future Directions
There are several limitations to this study. First, this data set may not be
complete and may therefore understate the extent of criminal and civil violations
by the pharmaceutical industry. It was compiled based on official press releases
from federal and state government websites; some settlements may not have
been made public. To our knowledge, there is no official, comprehensive, publicly
available source for all government actions taken against named pharmaceutical
21

companies. In addition, there was considerable variability in the availability of
press releases from state Attorney General websites, with older releases
generally not as readily available as new releases. This may have biased the
trend data towards seeming like a greater increase in state settlements over time
than is actually the case. Finally, the study documents trends in settlements by
settlement date, which does not reflect the date(s) during which the actual
violations occurred (typically several years prior to the settlement date). In other
words, the study does not reflect real-time trends in unlawful behavior by
companies.
Future research could look further into the reasons for the increased trend in
settlements and penalties over the past 20 years. This study also could be
expanded upon through analysis of more comprehensive data sources, such as
DOJ and individual state attorney general records if they were to be made
available. In addition, subsequent research could quantify the effect of certain
enforcement activities on trends in violations at the state level, particularly as
more states enact FCAs and strengthen whistleblower provisions.
Conclusion
Over the past two decades, there has been a marked increase in the number of
settlements between pharmaceutical companies and the federal and state
governments, as well as in the size of the accompanying financial penalties paid
by these companies. The reasons for these increases are unclear, but are likely
related to a combination of increased violations by the companies and increased
enforcement on the part of federal and state governments. Despite increased
government enforcement, illegal pharmaceutical company activities continue to
endanger public safety and rob the government of increasingly scarce state and
federal resources. These offenses require a more robust response. Given the
small size of current financial penalties relative to these companies’ profits, we
believe that both significantly increased financial penalties and criminal
prosecution-including jail- of company leadership would provide a more effective
deterrent to this unlawful behavior.

22

Appendix 1: Methods and Data Sources
Federal Cases
For federal cases, the following data sources were accessed between July 2010
and November 2010: 1) U.S. Department of Justice website (www.justice.gov), 2)
an archive website (www.archive.org) containing Department of Justice websites
dating back to 1994, 3) the Securities and Exchange Commission website
(www.sec.gov), 4) a web slide show prepared by the law firm Patton Boggs LLP
entitled “The InterMune Settlement: Deferred Prosecution Agreements in the
Context of Off-Label Investigations,” 38 5) a web document prepared by the law
firm EpsteinBeckerGreen entitled, “Pharmaceutical and Medical Device
Manufacturers: Recent Settlements and Investigations Related to Marketing,
Pricing and Associated Activities—Public Settlements and Investigations,” 39 6) a
web publication by the law firm Mitchell & DeClerck entitled, “Medical Fraud
Under the False Claims Act,” 40 7) the Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF) Education
Fund website called the False Claims Act Legal Center, 41 8) a web publication by
the law firm Crowell & Moring LLP entitled “False Claims Act Settlements 20002010,” 42 and 9) the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database website. 43
Relevant items from the Department of Justice website were found by going to
the part of the website entitled “Briefing Room,” and then going to “Justice
News.” Press releases from 2009 and 2010 were searched for the dollar sign ($)
in the press release. Relevant findings were entered into the database. The
search was performed again on November 1, 2010.
Because older Department of Justice press releases were not posted on the
website, the archive website (www.archive.org) was used. On this website, the
term “www.usdoj.gov” was typed into the search box. From there, links to press
releases were used. Sometimes the link would say “Press Releases,” and other
times it would say “Office of Public Affairs Press Releases,” depending on the
iteration of the archived website. The archive went as far back as 1994, though
some of the material referenced cases going back to 1991.
To search the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the link to “Press
Releases” was used, and then each year was searched (1997-2010) using a
dollar sign in the search function, similar to the way the Department of Justice
website was searched. The search was repeated on November 1, 2010.
Various methods were used to verify cases, with the goal of finding an official
state or federal press release for each civil and criminal action taken. This
method was used to verify the material from Patton Boggs LLP,
23

EpsteinBeckerGreen, Mitchell & DeClerck, the False Claims Act Legal Center,
Crowell & Moring, and the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
The majority of federal settlements were found in Department of Justice press
releases, both current and archived. The earliest federal settlement in the
database was in 1991.
State Cases
For those cases involving state governments only, two sources were used.
Information on individual and multi-state settlements was obtained from a search
of press releases available on each state’s Attorney General website. All press
release titles were either searched individually for relevant cases, or a text
search was employed, utilizing the following four terms: “drug”, “pharma”,
“pharmaceutical”, and “settle”. To access older press releases not available on
the current Attorney General websites, the archive website www.archive.org was
used, with either the current state Attorney General web address or an
alternative URL (e.g., “www.ag.[state name].gov” or “ag.state.[state name].us”),
typed into the search box. Sufficient numbers of resulting links for each state
were selected to yield all accessible past iterations of the websites.
For verification of state antitrust and Medicaid fraud cases, two data sources
from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) 44 were used: 1) For
antitrust cases, the following URL was accessed: http://naag.org/antitrust.php.
“Multistate Litigation Database” was selected, and then “Search Civil only” was
selected. Titles were searched individually for cases related to the
pharmaceutical industry. In addition, “Antitrust Press Releases,” an archive of
antitrust press releases, was selected and titles were searched individually for
relevant cases; 2) For Medicaid fraud cases, the National Association of
Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU) website was accessed at
http://www.namfcu.net/. The “Resources” tab and the “Medicaid Fraud Reports”
link were selected. This archive contained a partial list of voluntarily submitted
press releases from state Attorneys General. Within each bimonthly report, the
word “pharmaceutical” was typed into the full-text search box and relevant cases
were found.
Almost all of the information on state cases was obtained from individual states’
Attorney General websites, and therefore there was considerable variability in the
information that was available. The earliest year of press releases found ranged
from 1994 to 1995 in some states to as recent as 2009 in others, meaning that
24

the sample obtained was likely not comprehensive of all state settlements. The
earliest state settlement was in 1992.
All state cases were retrieved between October 4, 2010 and October 22, 2010.
All current state Attorney General websites were accessed again on November
1, 2010, to look for any additional cases.
False Claims Act
All federal FCA violations by pharmaceutical companies, involving either a
pharmaceutical product or general company violations, were compiled 1) from
cases in which a violation of the FCA was explicitly stated in the database press
release or, 2) from a cross-check with the database entitled “False Claims Act
Settlements 2000-2010” from Crowell & Moring LLP. 45

25

Appendix 2: Additional Figures

Figure A. Number of Pharmaceutical Industry Settlements:
State vs. Federal
38

40

32

30

27

25

29
21

20
14

State

20

15

Year

*2010 data include only the first 10 months 
of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

26

7
9

6

5

4

3

7

9

11

2010*

2

4

2009

2

3

Federal
5

2007

2

8

2006

2

2003

1

2

2002

1995

1

1
2

2

2001

0

1

1999

1

1

1998

1

1
2

3

1997

1

1
1

1994

0

1993

1

1992

0

1

1991

1

2

3

1996

5

2000

3

8

2005

10

10

2008

9

2004

Number of Settlements

35

Figure B. Pharmaceutical Industry Financial Penalties: 
State vs. Federal 
5000
4405

4500
Financial Penalties ($ millions)

3976**

4000

423

104

3517

3500

662

3000
2500
2000

Federal (F)

1441 1445

1500

889

1000

404
22

500

State (S)

3982

3872

S, 0 S, 22
F, 10 F, 0

1
S, 0
F, 1

0
S, 0
F, 0

10
S, 2
F, 8

7
S, 2
F, 5

4
S, 0
F, 4

3

100

S, 3 S, 42
F, 0 F, 58

S, 0

S, 404
F, 0

967
549 148

999
40

1067

324

53
1404

S, 0
889

2855

37

819

959 1014

1121

549

1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010*

0

Year

*2010 data include only the first 10 months 
of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

27

**One settlement with GlaxoSmithKline for $3.4 billion 
accounts for the spike in financial penalties in 2006.

Figure C. Number of Pharmaceutical Industry Settlements: 
Civil vs. Criminal
140
121
120

5

Number of Settlements

15

100
80
Criminal
60

Civil‐Criminal
101

40

29
6

20
5
0

10

23

2
3

10

1991‐1995

1996‐2000

*2010 data include only the first 10 months 
of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

2001‐2005
Years

28

2006‐2010*

Civil

Figure D. Pharmaceutical Industry Financial Penalties: 
Civil vs. Criminal
16000

14784

Financial Penalties ($ millions)

14000
3695

12000
10000
8000
Criminal**
6000

4471

4000
2000
0

11089

Civil

795

43

514

Criminal 11
Civil 32

Criminal 0

1991‐1995

1996‐2000

3676

514

2001‐2005
Years

*2010 data include only the first 10 months 
of the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

29

2006‐2010*
**In mixed civil‐criminal settlements, the civil and criminal 
portions were separated out and added to their corresponding 
categories here

Figure E. Qui Tam (“Whistleblower”) Cases and other Categories of 
Federal Pharmaceutical Industry Settlements
45
39

40

Number of Settlements

35
30
24

25
19

qui tam**

20

Other False Claims Act (FCA)***
All Other Settlements

15

10
8

10
5
5
0

3

3

1

1
2

4

1991‐1995

1996‐2000

*2010 data include only the first 10 months of 
the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

6

7

2001‐2005

2006‐2010*

Years

30

**qui tam cases are those in which any part of 
the settlement was triggered by a qui tam action
***”Other False Claims Act (FCA)” refers to any 
settlement involving at least one FCA violation

Figure F. Qui Tam (“Whistleblower”) Federal Pharmaceutical Industry Settlements: 
Financial Penalties ($ millions)*

13234

14000

Financial Penalties ($ millions)

12000
10000
8447

8000
qui tam***

6000

Other Settlements

4230
4000
2000

19

66

3267

qui tam, 0
qui tam, 8
Other Settlements, 11 Other Settlements, 66

963

0
1991‐1995

1996‐2000

*Financial penalties include both federal and state portions

2001‐2005

Years

**2010 data include only the first 10 months of the calendar year 
(through Nov. 1, 2010)

31

4787

2006‐2010**
***Qui tam totals comprise settlements in which any portion of 
the settlement stemmed from a qui tam action

Figure G. State Pharmaceutical Industry Settlements by Type of Violation: 
Overcharging Government Health Programs
35
29

Number of Settlements

30
25

21
20

20
15

17

12
17

10

Other Cases

7
12
8

Year

2

2

4

3

2010*

3

2009

3

2008

1999

2

2007

1998

2

2006

1996

*2010 data only include first 10 months of 
the calendar year (through Nov. 1, 2010)

5

2005

1

2004

1

2003

1

2002

1

3
2

2001

1

3

2

2000

1

1997

1

1994

1

1993

1

1992

1991

0

1

1995

5

5

4

**As sole violation in case. Settlement totals are less than totals given 
elsewhere as two cases with multiple violations were excluded

1

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
2

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
3

Wilson, D. Side Effects May Include Lawsuits. 2 Oct 2010. New York Times. Web. Accessed on
December 10, 2010.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/business/03psych.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=2&adx
nnlx=1292032938-wg19MNbfe7oOtMSnhITtqA

32

Cases involving 
Overcharging of 
Government Health 
Programs**

4

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
5

Yarrow, A. State Budget Crises Mount as Medicaid Rolls Soar. 8 Sep 2010. The Fiscal Times.
Web. Accessed (from Kaiser Health News) on November 27, 2010.
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2010/September/08/FT-states-budget-crisismedicaid.aspx
6

Politico.com. Obama announces effort to crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud. 9 Mar
2010. Web. Accessed on November 27, 2010.
http://www.politico.com/livepulse/0310/Obama_announces_effort_to_crack_down_on_Medicare_
and_Medicaid_fraud_.html
7

Krause, J. “Twenty-five Years of Health Law through the Lens of the False Claims Act” in
Annals of Health Law 19(1): 13-17. Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

8

Kaiser Family Foundation. States that have enacted a False Claims Act, 2009. Web. Accessed
on November 1, 2010. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparetable.jsp?ind=260&cat=4

9

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA), Pub. L. No. 111-21, 123 Stat. 1617,
amended the FCA to close a loophole for claims paid by government contractors rather than the
government itself. FERA makes clear that liability attaches whenever a person knowingly makes
a false claim to obtain money or property, any part of which is provided by the government,
without regard to whether the wrongdoer deals directly with the government or with a third party
recipient of government funds. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA),
Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119, amended the FCA to encourage meritorious qui tam suits by
narrowing the public disclosure bar and expanding its original source exception.

10

Food and Drug Administration. FDA History – Part II: The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Web.
Accessed on November 27, 2010.
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11

Blumberg, E. “The Park Doctrine”. Speech given to the Food and Drug Law Institute. October
13, 2010.
12

Fraud Statistics – Overview. Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice. Web. Accessed on
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13

Information on total penalties for health care industry violations, broken down into individual
health industry sectors was obtained from the HHS Office of the Inspector General and from the
Department of Justice.
14

35 U.S.C. § 292 (false patent marking); 25 U.S.C. § 81 (contracting with Indians in an unlawful
manner); 25 U.S.C. § 201 (violating Indian protection laws); and 17 U.S.C. § 1326 (false marking
and advertising of vessel hull designs).
15

Fraud Statistics – Overview. Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice. Web. Accessed on
November 23, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/civil/frauds/fcastats.pdf
16

Fraud Statistics – Overview. Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice. Web. Accessed on
November 23, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/civil/frauds/fcastats.pdf

33

17

Information on total penalties for health care industry violations, broken down into individual
health industry sectors was obtained from the HHS Office of the Inspector General and from the
Department of Justice.
18

Internal Revenue Service. News Release. IRS Accepts Settlement Offer in Largest Transfer
Pricing Dispute. 11 Sept 2006. Web. Accessed on December 7, 2010.
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=162359,00.html

19

U.S. Department of Justice. Press Release. Eli Lilly and Company Agrees to Pay $1.415 Billion
to Resolve Allegations of Off-label Promotion of Zyprexa. 15 Jan 2009. Web. Accessed on
December 7, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/January/09-civ-038.html

20

U.S. Department of Justice. Press Release. Justice Department Announces Largest Health
Care Fraud Settlement in Its History. 2 Sept 2009. Web. Accessed on December 7, 2010.
http://www.uspsoig.gov/press_releases/PfizerSettlement_2009-02-09.pdf

21

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
22

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
23

McCardle, M. No Refills. The Atlantic Monthly (2010 July/Aug). Web. Accessed on November
4, 2010. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/no-refills/8133/
24

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
25

Radley DC, Finkelstein SN, Stafford RS. Off-label prescribing among office-based physicians.
Arch Intern Med. 2006 May 8;166(9):1021-6.

26

Schneider, A. Reducing Medicare and Medicaid Fraud by Drug Manufacturers. Medicaid
Policy, LLC (prepared for Taxpayers Against Fraud – TAF). Web. Accessed on November 27,
2010. www.taf.org/publications/PDF/drug%20report.pdf
27

Office of the Attorney General, State of Mississippi. Press Release. Mississippi Settles with
Dey Labs. 7 Jan 2009. Web. Accessed on November 30, 2010.
http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/press/releases/mississippi_settles_with_dey_labs/
28

IMS Health. Top 15 Global Corporations. Web. Accessed on November 4, 2010.
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al-Top_15_Companies.pdf
29

Kaiser Family Foundation. States that have enacted a False Claims Act, 2009. Web. Accessed
on November 1, 2010. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparetable.jsp?ind=260&cat=4

30

Moorman, J. & Chen, R. State False Claims Acts: How states can recover stolen money.
Taxpayers Against Fraud/Office of Inspector General-HHS. Web. Accessed on November 29,
2010. http://www.taf.org/OIG_TAF_Presentation.ppt

31

Savoie, L. Louisiana Revises Its State False Claims Act in Light of OIG Review. 27 Aug 2007.
Louisiana Law Blog. Web. Accessed on November 29, 2010.

34

http://www.louisianalawblog.com/health-law-louisiana-revises-its-state-false-claims-act-in-light-ofoig-review.html
32

Yarrow, A. State Budget Crises Mount as Medicaid Rolls Soar. 8 Sep 2010. The Fiscal Times.
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33

Krause, J. “Twenty-five Years of Health Law through the Lens of the False Claims Act” in
Annals of Health Law 19(1): 13-17. Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

34

Fortune Global 500. Web. Accessed on November 4, 2010.
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2009/industries/21/index.html
35

Blumberg, E. “The Park Doctrine”. Speech given to the Food and Drug Law Institute. October
13, 2010.

36

Blumberg, E. “The Park Doctrine”. Speech given to the Food and Drug Law Institute. October
13, 2010.

37

Evans, D. When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties. 21 Mar 2010. Washington Post.
Web. Accessed on November 13, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html
38

Patton Boggs LLP. The InterMune Settlement: Deferred Prosecution Agreements in the
context of Off-Label Investigations. Web. Accessed on August 30, 2010.
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39

EpsteinBeckerGreen. Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturers: Recent Settlements
and Investigations Related to Marketing, Pricing and Associated Activities—Public Settlements
and Investigations. Current as of October 16, 2009. Web. Accessed on October 19, 2010.
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40

Lahman, L. Medical Fraud Under the False Claims Act. Mitchell & DeClerck. Spring 2006.
Web. Accessed on August 30, 2010. http://larrylahman.net/Documents/Medical%20Fraud.pdf
41

Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF)--The False Claims Act Legal Center. Top False Claims Act
Cases by Award Amount. Web. Accessed on November 1, 2010.
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42

Elmer, B. False Claims Act Settlements 2000-2010. 27 Aug 2010. Crowell & Moring LLP. Doc.
10996276. Web. Accessed on October 27, 2010. http://www.crowell.com/pdf/False-Claims-ActSettlements_2000-2010.pdf
43

Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. Top 100 Contractors. Web. Accessed on November
1, 2010. http://www.contractormisconduct.org/index.cfm/
44

National Association of Attorneys General. Web. Accessed on December 7, 2010.
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45

Elmer, B. False Claims Act Settlements 2000-2010. 27 Aug 2010. Crowell & Moring LLP. Doc.
10996276. Web. Accessed on October 27, 2010. http://www.crowell.com/pdf/False-Claims-ActSettlements_2000-2010.pdf

35

 

 

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