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U.S. drug maker Alpharma Inc. has consented to pay a hefty sum to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that the manufacturer violated the False Claims Act in marketing Kadian, a morphine-based pharmaceutical. The lawsuit had alleged that for eight years, from 2000 to 2008, the company paid kickbacks to health care providers who agreed to prescribe or promote the drug. In addition, claimed the suit, Alpharma made misrepresentations concerning the effectiveness and safety of Kadian, which is used for patients with chronic pain.
The proceeds from the settlement are to be apportioned among the federal government and a number of states that participated in the litigation. In addition, Debra Parks—the whistleblower who filed the original suit against Alpharma back in 2006—will also receive a share of the federal government’s recovery. Ms. Parks filed the case under the Qui Tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which grant individual citizens who uncover fraudulent schemes against the federal government the authority to file suit on the government’s behalf.
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