BOSTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / December 20, 2019 / Berman Tabacco announces a $6.5 million settlement in a False Claims Act case brought against eight former executives and employees of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Aegerion" or the "Company") by three former employees. The current settlement resolves claims alleging that defendants defrauded Medicare by causing the submission of payment claims for the prescription drug Juxtapid after promoting it for unapproved uses. The Company previously reached a civil false claims settlement with the United States and certain individual states for $28.8 million and agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $7.2 million, bringing the total recovery to the United States and certain individual states in this matter to $42.5 million.
The three whistleblowers or "Relators" were former sales representatives at Aegerion, each with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and health care industries. They were each drawn to Aegerion by the promise of helping patients with a rare genetic disorder obtain potentially life-saving drug therapy.
Juxtapid is an orphan drug approved by the FDA to treat patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia ("HoFH"), an extremely rare genetic disorder with low life expectancy. In July 2013, shortly after the FDA approved Juxtapid, the whistleblowers brought their action alleging that the defendants aggressively promoted and distributed Juxtapid by targeting patients who did not suffer from HoFH. For example, the whistleblowers alleged that Aegerion made false and misleading statements to doctors in order to have them prescribe Juxtapid more widely, notwithstanding the FDA's efficacy and safety concerns that had prompted it to limit Juxtapid's use to the treatment of HoFH.
In 2017, the United States intervened in the whistleblowers' action for purposes of settling claims with Aegerion under an arrangement where Aegerion agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges. The United States declined to intervene in the whistleblowers' claims against Aegerion's senior management and other individual defendants. Since 2017, whistleblowers have self-litigated the action against these individuals and defeated multiple motions to dismiss the case. Following a mediation, the parties agreed to a settlement whereby defendants collectively will pay $6.5 million to the United States, of which the whistleblowers will share approximately $1,787,500. Defendants deny liability.
"This settlement draws to an end six years of litigation and represents a significant recovery for the United States," commented Berman Tabacco partner Patrick Egan, lead attorney on the case. "By self-litigating against the senior executives at Aegerion, the whistleblowers demonstrated their commitment and courage to take on the alleged architects of the scheme."
"We are very proud of our clients. Not only did they alert the government to what they witnessed firsthand, but they continued to fight on even after Aegerion had settled," commented Rory Delaney, one of whistleblowers' counsel from the outset.
The whistleblowers are represented by the attorneys of Berman Tabacco's Boston office, including Patrick T. Egan, Bryan A. Wood, Stephen Ryan, Jr., and Nicole Maruzzi, alongside attorneys from Delaney Kester LLP, including Royston H. Delaney and Ilyas J. Rona of Boston, Massachusetts; and Charles F. Kester of Los Angeles, California.
Berman Tabacco is a national law firm representing whistleblowers nationwide in actions filed under the False Claims Act, as well as before the SEC, CFTC, IRS and state regulators in connection with their enforcement of federal and state laws. The firm also represents institutions and individuals in lawsuits seeking to recoup losses caused by corporate board misconduct and violations of securities and antitrust laws. The firm has 37 lawyers in Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. This notice may constitute attorney advertising.
Patrick T. Egan
SOURCE: Berman Tabacco
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