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DaVita Settles kidney Drug Fraud Case

July 3, 2012

According to a story in the Denver Post, Dialysis Provider DaVita Inc. has for the first time, settled a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act.  In this case relating to its billing for overfill provided in Epogen, an anemia drug, Davita has agreed to pay $55 million for its drug fraud.

Most kidney dialysis patients are anemic, and Epogen a drug made by Amgen, is used by dialysis clinics like DaVita to boost patients’ red blood cell counts. Medicare pays for all costs associated with long-term dialysis patients.

Whistleblower Case Involved DaVita’s Misuse of Drug Overfill

The case was brought in Texas by whistleblower Ivey Woodard, a former employee of Epogen-maker Amgen.

Federal law requires that injectable drugs contain more product than needed in one dose. This “overfill” ensures that patients receive sufficient medicine. However, the Texas whistleblower lawsuit revealed that DaVita used and billed for more drug product than was medically necessary.  Moreover, it double-billing the government for Epogen left over in vials and reused.

The basis for this case case was very similar to our $762 million litigation against Amgen, for its own part in encouraging overuse and double billing of Epogen.

The whistleblower, Ivey Woodward and her counsel will receive a reward of $16.5 million of the settlement, as allowed by the False Claims Act. The federal government, which pays most dialysis through Medicare will receive more than 70% of the settlement.

 

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