Cynthia Fitzgerald

Phillips & Cohen represents a whistleblower in the first major qui tam lawsuit alleging Medicare fraud by a group purchasing organization (GPO). The case against Novation, the nation's largest GPO, or hospital purchasing company, is the first to expose GPO practices involving improper payments and fees that vendors, manufacturers and others make to GPOs. These improper payments and fees have the effect of cheating the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Below is an excerpt from a New York Times story about Cynthia Fitzgerald, a former senior product manager for Novation, and her qui tam lawsuit. It was written by Times reporter Mary Williams Walsh.

Blowing the Whistle, Many Times

WHEN Cynthia Fitzgerald started out in pharmaceutical sales 20 years ago, she received ample training on the right and wrong ways to sell medical products. . . .

But she says those early lessons didn't serve her so well when she went to work on the other side of the table in 1998, in health care purchasing. Going by the book, and expecting her colleagues and employer to do the same, cost her a job, most of her friendships and several years of her life, she says.

Eventually, Ms. Fitzgerald decided to file what could become one of the largest whistle-blower lawsuits on record. And her case, which names more than a dozen companies as defendants - some with well-known names like Johnson & Johnson, Becton Dickinson and Merck -- offers a window onto a little-known world, where billions of dollars' worth of medical products are sold each year to institutional buyers like hospitals.

The entire story and a New York Times video about Cynthia Fitzgerald and her qui tam case against GPOs is available at the New York Times website.