Justice Department Announcement on 2016 Qui Tam Settlements Highlights VSG Lawsuit

The Department of Justice announced in a recent press release that its False Claims Act settlements in Fiscal Year 2016 exceeded $4.7 billion. The Department identified the $390 million settlement in VSG’s qui tam lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York against Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation as one of the top recoveries in 2016. The whistleblower qui tam case against Novartis was brought by VSG client David Kester, a former Novartis sales manager. His lawsuit alleged that the company gave kickbacks to specialty pharmacies in exchange for the pharmacies ramping up sales of Novartis’ high-priced, specialty drugs.   In September 2016, Taxpayers Against Fraud named Mr. Kester as Whistleblower of the Year in light of the success of his lawsuit.

As in past years, most of the False Claims Act recoveries came from healthcare fraud cases, including cases against drug companies, hospitals, nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, medical laboratories and medical device manufacturers.

Qui tam lawsuits for housing and mortgage fraud also led to large settlements, including a $1.2 billion settlement with mortgage lender Wells Fargo.

Most of 2016 recoveries came from lawsuits brought by whistleblowers, who have continued to be the government’s most valuable asset in fighting fraud.

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Watch David Kester and VSG partner Shelley R. Slade talk about blowing the whistle on Novartis.

Read the DOJ Press release.

Read about TAF Naming David Kester as Whistleblower of the Year.