Pharmaceutical companies may take advantage of physicians at private practices, hospitals and other medical facilities through off-label marketing. Off-label marketing is an approach, albeit an illegal one, that some pharmaceutical sales representatives rely on to meet demanding sales goals. This involves illegally promoting a drug for uses that the FDA has not approved. However, the health care workers in the above areas are not the only targets.
Some pharmaceutical companies attempt to defraud the government. The Bureau of Prisons and the Veterans Administration are just a few systems that pharmaceutical companies may target with an off-label marketing scheme. As of this writing, the Bureau of Prisons manages more than 3,000 health care positions. How can pharmaceutical fraud go unnoticed with so many employees? Sometimes workers are not aware of the signs of pharmaceutical fraud, whom to notify and how to appropriately handle a whistleblowing claim.
Signs of Pharmaceutical Fraud
Government workers might not initially realize a pharmaceutical company is acting illegally. Drug sales representatives can create convincing and professional sales presentations that highlight various drugs and their uses. However, the presentations could have false information.
For example, Risperdal is a prescription drug that is FDA-approved for the use of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Perhaps a researcher published an article that shows Risperdal aids in weight loss. While the law provides drugs may only be marketed for uses approved by the FDA, the sale representative may illegally promote this research during their presentation. If knowledgeable nurses or doctors notice a discrepancy like this, how should workers report their suspicions?
Whistleblowing Drug Companies
Some workers may report the activity internally so that an investigation may start by appropriate authorities. However, under some circumstances, other government workers are aware of the fraud and are being compensated in some way to deflect interference. Kickbacks are also illegal. If a worker is concerned their report is not being taken seriously, or feel their job is compromised in some way, they can contact a whistleblower attorney.
Whistleblowing attorneys, such as myself and the other lawyers at Ross Feller Casey, handle cases that involve drug fraud and help protect individuals who expose wrongdoing. Consultations are confidential. Whistleblower litigation requires evidentiary support. If you have knowledge of possible fraud, your statement as a witness and documentation of the fraud can help.