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When people think of a “whistleblower” they typically think a corporate insider who witnessed fraud and chooses to expose it. But there is another type of valuable whistleblower: a competitor to the company. Competitors can be in a unique position to recognize the fraud and explain it to the government. They can see how the competition is unfairly beating them in the marketplace. Two recent examples illustrate the value of the competitor whistleblower.
We had the privilege of representing whistleblower/relator Sanofi North America in the largest False Claims Act settlement of 2017. Sanofi sued Mylan over the pricing and underpaying of rebates on its drug EpiPen. Mylan’s scheme undermined Sanofi’s competing drug. Subsequently, Sanofi realized this scheme defrauded the Medicaid program. The government settled Sanofi’s False Claims Act qui tam complaint for $465 million and thanked Sanofi for coming forward. (See Our Successes.) The settlement was also heralded by DOJ in its press release touting the banner year it had in 2017 for FCA recoveries.
As an additional example, in 2018, the government settled a False Claims Act qui tam complaint brought by a family owned business, Moldex-Metric, Inc., against its much larger competitor, 3M Company, alleging it supplied defective dual ended combat arms earplugs to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency.
Competitors can be valuable in other whistleblower programs as well. It can also include an action under the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and Internal Revenue Service whistleblower programs. If you think your competition is behaving unfairly or fraudulently in the marketplace, add being a whistleblower to your legal options. We can help you explore the possibilities.