PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The law firm of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is pleased to announce that its co-founder and name partner, Eric L. Young, was honored as one of two “Lawyers of the Year” for 2020 at the 20th Annual Conference & Awards Ceremony of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (“TAF”). TAF also named James E. Miller of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP, as a recipient of the award. TAF is the nation’s preeminent organization dedicated to combatting fraud against the government and advocating for stronger whistleblower protections. It also serves as a significant resource for whistleblowers and their attorneys who bring actions under the federal and state False Claims Acts, as well as the whistleblower programs of the IRS, SEC and CFTC.
Mr. Young and Mr. Miller were honored for their groundbreaking work representing three whistleblowers in two successful qui tam False Claims Act cases against two of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers − Novartis and Teva. Both cases were hard-fought and required substantial investments of time and resources for both law firms. In total, more than 100 depositions were taken across the nation, and over $6 million were advanced for expert fees and investigatory expenses in both cases.
Young and Miller’s work leading up the settlement in United States ex rel. Bilotta v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Corp., No. 11-CV-00071 (S.D.N.Y.) spanned more than a decade and was based on a qui tam complaint alleging that the drug maker violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying unlawful kickbacks to doctors who prescribed one of nine different cardiovascular drugs.
According to the allegations in the complaint, Novartis provided incentives to physicians, such as cash, meals, alcohol, hotels, travel and entertainment, as part of a sham speaker program that was in place at the company from 2002 to 2011. At many of these speaking engagements, it was alleged that doctors were not required to make presentations, and there was typically minimal discussion about medical issues. As part of the settlement, Novartis entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the government which, among other things, placed strict limits on future remuneration paid to speakers as well as the amount of funding that could be allocated to speaker training programs.
Likewise, TAF recognized Young and Miller’s trailblazing work in an alleged kickback case against Teva Pharmaceuticals. The settlement in United States ex rel. Arnstein and Senousy v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., No. 1:13-cv-03702 (S.D.N.Y.) was also based on allegations that the pharmaceutical company paid illegal kickbacks to doctors as an incentive to write prescriptions for two drugs that treated multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Notably, the government declined to intervene in this case and Young and Miller’s firms proceeded to litigate the case to a successful conclusion. As a result, the two whistleblowers received an award of 29% of the government’s recovery. In general, when the government intervenes in a False Claims Act case, a relator is eligible for