A former sales rep for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation gained an ally -- the United States Department of Justice -- in his whistleblower suit under the False Claims Act charging Novartis with massive fraud against Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs. The case claims that Novartis paid kickbacks to doctors to prescribe a number of its cardiovascular drugs including Lotrel, Valturna, and Starlix and thereby defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and a number of other federal and state funded health care programs. The purpose of the kickback scheme, the suit claims, was to increase the number of prescriptions issued, which increased Novartis' sales and profits and increased the costs to taxpayers.
The False Claims Act is a federal law that helps protect taxpayers by providing a vehicle for whistleblowers to file suit against companies that are defrauding federal government programs such as Medicare. Whistleblowers that successfully prosecute such cases are allowed to retain 15-25% of the money recovered.