Boston residents probably remember the fall of 2001. It was a frightening time - in addition to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, someone mailed the deadly bacteria anthrax to news stations and government officials.
Now, a lawsuit recently filed against German drug maker Bayer A.G. alleges that the company took advantage of the fear and concern of that era to defraud the government.
Bayer makes Cipro, an antibiotic treatment for anthrax. The government wanted to make sure it could respond if anthrax attacks became widespread, so it put out a call for medication.
That was a lucrative contract and Bayer jumped at the chance, but there was just one problem. Bayer and the government both knew that Cipro posed some risk to children. So, the government agreed to buy Cipro from Bayer, but asked it to perform more studies and report the results so that it could have more information about whether Cipro was too dangerous for kids.
The man who filed the lawsuit claims he was involved in the testing. He alleges that Bayer rigged the testing to make the potential harm of Bayer use in children (damages to tendons and ligaments) look less likely. Thus, the results that Bayer reported to the government were fraudulent.
At this stage of the lawsuit, Bayer has not had a chance to formally and officially respond, so we have to take what this man is saying with that in mind. However, if what he is saying is true, it seems we have yet another example of a healthcare-related company cheating the government and dishonestly taking taxpayer money.
The man filed his lawsuit under the Federal False Claims Act, which is one piece of legislation we are very familiar with. If you work for a company that you believe is defrauding the government in some way, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with this law. The Federal False Claims Act portion of our website could be one place you might start doing that.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Doc Claims Bayer Falsified Cipro Data," Marimer Matos, July 30, 2012