Verizon Wireless and AT&T have agreed to pay a combined $116 million to settle a long-running lawsuit alleging the wireless carriers overcharged hundreds of California cities, schools and other government agencies. The lawsuit, filed by a whistleblower in 2012, alleged that Verizon and AT&T failed to optimize rate plans to the lowest cost option as pledged in their contracts with governments. It is the second-largest California False Claims Act award in the state’s history outside of the health-care industry. To read the full story, click here.
Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Gilead) has agreed to pay $97 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by illegally using a foundation as a conduit to pay the copays of thousands of Medicare patients taking Gilead’s hypertension drug, Letairis. From 2007 through 2010, Gilead made payments to the foundation, which, in turn, used those funds to pay copays of patients prescribed Letairis. Under the Anti-Kickback Statute, a pharmaceutical company is prohibited from offering or paying any remuneration — which includes money or any other thing of value — to induce Medicare patients to purchase the company’s drugs.This prohibition extends to the payment of patients’ copay obligations. To read the full press release, click here.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Friday said he is moving forward with a subpoena for a top official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), claiming the agency has obstructed a whistleblower from accessing records ahead of a congressional deposition. Schiff is seeking the public testimony of Joseph Maher, the top official carrying out the duties of the undersecretary for Intelligence & Analysis (I&A), in which Schiff says he wants to hear Maher explain why former undersecretary Brian Murphy was not granted access to classified records related to his whistleblower complaint. Schiff said Murphy’s lack of access to records has led his committee to postpone a deposition before his panel from Murphy for a second time. To read the full story, click here.
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