VSG Client David Kester Honored as “Whistleblower of the Year”

Washington, D.C., September 15, 2016: The national, non-profit, public interest organization Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF) today presented David Kester with its “Whistleblower of the Year” Award, announced Shelley R. Slade of Vogel, Slade & Goldstein, LLP. The firm represented Mr. Kester in a qui tam lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Novartis and specialty pharmacies BioScsript and Accredo that yielded a $465 million recovery for U.S. taxpayers.

“TAFEF could not have chosen a more deserving recipient of this honor,” said Slade. “David Kester’s courageous and unwavering defense of patients’ well-being and our country’s laws should be an inspiration to all who find themselves forced to make ethical compromises.”

David Kester Whistleblower of the Year

David Kester with U.S. Attorney for the S.D.N.Y., Preet Bahara

Kester was recognized by TAFEF for exposing the ways in which Novartis used patient “reimbursement hubs” to steer patients to specialty pharmacies that were willing to work with them to increase refills. In 2011, Mr. Kester alleged that Novartis had violated the Anti-Kickback Law and the False Claims Act by offering BioScript and Accredo inducements such as rebates and increased patient referrals from its reimbursement hubs in exchange for the pharmacies ramping up sales of Novartis’ high-priced, specialty drugs.

Novartis, he alleged, had used “scorecards” to measure how well its network pharmacies were generating sales of these high-priced drugs. Mr. Kester’s suit also exposed the methods used by the specialty pharmacies to generate refills, which included hiring nurses to call patients and recommend the reordering of a drug. Mr. Kester’s qui tam action ultimately resulted in Novartis and the specialty pharmacies making detailed factual admissions about their conduct.

Mr. Kester was a sales manager for Novartis’ cystic fibrosis drug TOBI when he learned of the scheme. He later resigned, citing ethical concerns. After an 18-month investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, along with 10 states, joined Mr. Kester’s lawsuit. Mr. Kester’s counsel worked alongside the government attorneys to investigate and litigate the claims.

For more information, contact Shelley Slade at sslade@vsg-law.com or 202-537-5900.

About Vogel, Slade & Goldstein, LLP

Based in Washington, D.C., Vogel, Slade & Goldstein, LLP is one of the nation’s longest-standing qui tam law firms representing whistleblowers in lawsuits under the False Claims Act. VSG qui tam lawyers have the highest success rate nationwide for achieving monetary awards for their whistleblower clients, as reported in a study of over 4,000 qui tam case outcomes. The firm also has the highest reported success rate in persuading the United States to join its clients’ qui tam lawsuits.