Whistleblower Law Blog
GE Healthcare Pays U.S. Government $30 Million to Settle False Claims Act Suit
On December 29, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that GE Healthcare Inc. agreed to pay thirty million dollars to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against Amersham Health Inc., a holding company of GE Healthcare. The DOJ alleged that from 2000 to 2003, Amersham submitted false claims to Medicare for Myoview, a radiopharmaceutical that allows doctors to observe blood flow in images of patients’ hearts.
According to the DOJ, Amersham also unnecessarily increased the amount of Myoview in a dose to increase the drug’s sales. GE Healthcare denies any wrongdoing, stating that it acquired Amersham in 2004, after the alleged False Claims Act violations took place. “It’s important for drug manufacturers to provide accurate pricing information to Medicare so that taxpayers aren’t overcharged for medicines purchased with their dollars,” said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, in a statement about the settlement.
James Wagel, a salesman for Cardiolite, a competitor to Myoview, brought his concerns to the DOJ in 2006 and was awarded $5.1 million from the total settlement. Wagel claimed that many of his clients purchased Myvoview over Cardiolite because they were able to get more use out of the product. When doctors used Myoview in testing, however, results showed false problems with patients’ hearts and led to unnecessary and expensive testing.
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