Oct. 28, 2009, WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, highlighted several "qui tam" whistleblower cases brought by Phillips & Cohen lawyers at a committee hearing on healthcare fraud today.
Leahy said whistleblowers have exposed outrageous incidents of healthcare fraud that not only cost the Medicare program billions but also put patients' health and lives at risk. He told the story of Thomas Cantor, whom Phillips & Cohen represented in his qui tam case against Quest Diagnostics Inc., which settled for $302 million.
"Quest continued to sell a certain kind of medical test kit from 2000 to 2006, despite complaints of inaccurate results," Leahy said. "These tests put the health of hundreds of thousands of dialysis patients at risk. The settlement covers claims that the bad tests led to unnecessary surgeries and overtreatment which risked causing deadly diseases."
Leahy also discussed Pfizer's $2.3 billion settlement with the federal government for healthcare fraud involving its off-label marketing of Bextra and other prescription drugs. Of the total settlement, Pfizer paid $1.8 billion to settle civil and criminal charges stemming from a qui tam case Phillips & Cohen brought on behalf of whistleblower John Kopchinski.
Leahy noted the presence of three whistleblowers in the audience whose qui tam cases brought on their behalf by Phillips & Cohen stopped healthcare fraud and returned millions to the U.S. Treasury:
- "Bruce Boice, a former sales representative for the pharmaceutical company Cephalon, blew the whistle at great cost to his career and livelihood on a similar scheme of marketing drugs for purposes for which they were not approved. He helped the Government recover $425 million."
- "Chuck Bates and Craig Patrick, two former employees of the medical device company Kyphon, are also here today. They blew the whistle on a practice aimed at inflating the bills sent to Medicare for a surgical procedure, and helped the Government recover $86 million."
Leahy's complete statement, the testimony of Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Bill Corr, the testimony of Assistant Attorney General Tony West of the Department of Justice's Civil Division and a webcast of the hearing ("Effective Strategies for Preventing Healthcare Fraud"), can be found on the committee's website.