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July 31, 2019 | Pharmaceuticals Fraud

Whistleblowers Alert U.S. Government Over 97,000% Drug Price Hike

By: Carolina Whistleblower Attorneys


You chose a career in healthcare because you wanted to help people. You also know right from wrong when you see it. So what happens when its your employer’s misconduct?

Former Mallinckrodt employees blow the whistle

CNN reported that two whistleblowers, both former employees at pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt (formerly Questcor Pharmaceuticals), accused the company of bribing physicians and their staffs to increase sales of H.P. Acthar Gel, thereby cheating the American taxpayer out of millions of dollars.3

The drug, which treats a rare infantile spasm disorder, as well as multiple sclerosis and rheumatic arthritis, was heavily pushed by the company so that it sold “at all costs.” Acthar Gel cost $40 a vial in 2000. Today, the same vial costs nearly $39,000, which is a stunning increase of 97,000%!

This price hike, which is one of the most dramatic drug price increases in U.S. history, contributed to annual Acthar sales of over $1 billion, most of which were driven by Medicare reimbursements.

The whistleblowers said that company culture pushed to sell the drug no matter what the cost, from bribing physicians to lying to the Food and Drug Administration, and failing to disclose the full nature and extent of its Acthar marketing plan and materials.

Mallinckrodt did not deny the accusations but pointed the finger at Questcor instead, which it purchased in 2014. The whistleblowers said that the company had knowingly continued the illegal practices since the merger and acquisition.

If found liable, Mallinckrodt could be ordered to pay up to three times any amount it was found to have defrauded from the government, in addition to penalties ranging from $11,000 to $22,000 for each false claim it made to the FDA.

Why should I blow the whistle on my employers?

It’s understandable that many people who suspect or know their employers are perpetrating something ethically unsound are afraid to do something about it. However, an experienced whistleblower attorney can help you fight for the American taxpayer from those who would defraud them.

Know that the federal False Claims Act protects those courageous individuals who speak up to prevent companies from defrauding the government. This includes:

  • Making it illegal to fire, demote, or take any adverse employment action against someone who filed a whistleblower/qui tam claim.
  • Potential ordering an employer who does any of the above to reinstate the whistleblower, pay them up to double the amount of their claim in good faith.
  • Enabling the whistleblower to to potentially receive up to 30% of what the government recovers.

Whistleblowers try to make sure that any powerful corporations that act unethically are held accountable, making them one of the most valued and effective weapons the government has to fight fraud. This is why those who bring forward evidence of wrongdoing may be well-compensated for doing the right thing.

Contact a Carolina Whistleblower Attorney

Healthcare fraud accounts for the majority of lawsuits initiated by whistleblowers. Last year, $2.5 billion of the $2.8 billion recovered by the Department of Justice involved pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, laboratories, and other healthcare organizations and professionals.

If you work for one of them and want to hold them accountable, let’s talk. Carolina Whistleblower Attorneys fight for the rights of those courageous individuals who expose healthcare fraud against the government and will have with you a confidential discussion about a possible whistleblower lawsuit. For more information, contact us or call 1-888-292-8852.

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Carolina Whistleblower Attorneys


About the Author

Carolina Whistleblowers Attorneys is a joint venture between the Bill Nettles Law Firm and the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. Together, we have the experience, resources, and reach to help whistleblowers who want to try to stop fraud against the government anywhere in North Carolina, South Carolina, across the country, and even internationally.* We are led by former White House-appointed attorney Bill Nettles and his team. During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, Bill’s office brought South Carolina to one of the top four districts in the country for whistleblower recoveries.1

* The attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin and the Bill Nettles Law Firm are only licensed in the states indicated. Representation in other jurisdictions is only allowed by their rules and may involve association with local counsel.

Contact the Carolina
Whistleblower Attorneys

If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to speak with a whistleblower lawyer about what you know, let us set the record straight.

  • Corporate ethics hotlines can be risky and may lead to termination. If you’ve already done this, call us immediately.
  • Your coworkers could be aware of the fraud – or complicit in it – and you should not talk to them about it.
  • The first claim to be filed under the False Claims Act can proceed – if you’re not first, you’re at a serious disadvantage and may get nothing (another reason not to speak to your coworkers about it).
  • A confidential discussion costs you a few minutes, but could save you time, stress, and money.


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