Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Forest) paid more than $313 million to resolve its criminal and civil liability and entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the HHS-OIG. The settlement included Forest pleading guilty, paying a criminal fine of $150 million, and forfeiting an additional $14 million in assets for charges relating to obstruction of justice, the illegal promotion of Celexa, an anti-depressant drug for use in treating children and adolescents, and the distribution of Levothroid, an unapproved new drug used to treat hypothyroidism. Forest also paid over $149 million to the United States and the states to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that Forest caused false claims to be submitted to federal health care programs for the drugs Celexa®, Lexapro®, and Levothroid.
In his qui tam complaint, our whistleblower client alleged that Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of New York City-based Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Forest Laboratories, violated federal and state False Claims Acts by engaging in off label marketing of the anti-depressant drugs Celexa and Lexapro for use in children and adolescents, and paying kickbacks to physicians that resulted in illegal billings to federal health care programs.
After a lengthy government investigation and the Department of Justice filing a complaint in intervention in our client’s case, Forest reached an agreement with the Department of Justice and several state Attorneys General to resolve its criminal and civil liabilities for a total of over $313 million.
The relator further alleged that Forest had illegally retaliated against him by firing him after he raised questions about Forest’s illegal behavior. The court ruled that his claim could proceed. See United States ex rel. Gobble et al. v. Forest Labs, et al., 729 F.Supp.2d 446 (D. Mass. 2010).
We were co-counsel with attorneys Marlan Wilbanks and Ty Bridges in this case which was styled as