WASHINGTON – EUSA Pharma (USA) Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $180,000 to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by allegedly encouraging doctors to submit inflated claims to Medicare for imaging scans, the Justice Department announced today. EUSA Pharma (USA) is headquartered in Langhorne, Pa.
The United States alleged that EUSA Pharma, which makes and sells ProstaScint, a radiopharmaceutical, advised health care providers to submit multiple claims for certain imaging scans performed following use of ProstaScint, after the Society of Nuclear Medicine informed the company that only one claim should be submitted for these scans.
“Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that the Medicare Trust Fund is used to pay for necessary medical care and is not depleted as a result of marketing schemes intended to increase sales by inflating government reimbursements,” said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to hold accountable those who abuse public health care programs at the expense of taxpayers.”
Today’s settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by former EUSA Pharma employee Ann-Marie Williams under the qui tam, or whistleblower provisions, of the False Claims Act. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens can bring suit on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. Ms. Williams will receive $30,600 as her share of the government’s recovery.
This resolution is part of the government's emphasis on combating health care fraud and another step for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in May 2009. The partnership between the two departments has focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud through enhanced cooperation. One of the most powerful tools in that effort is the False Claims Act, which the Justice Department has used to recover nearly $6.7 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs. The Justice Department's total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 are over $8.9 billion.
The investigating agencies were the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Office of Criminal Investigations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.