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DOJ says it settled $1.8 billion in health care fraud, false claims last year

DOJ says it settled $1.8 billion in health care fraud, false claims last year
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday that last year it reached about $1.8 billion in settlements in health care fraud and false claims cases against the government. 

The DOJ said the recovered funds stemmed from cases involving “the health care industry, including drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, laboratories, and physicians” in fiscal 2020. The Justice Department said it also played a role in recovering tens of millions of more dollars for state Medicaid programs. 

“Even in the face of a nationwide pandemic, the department’s dedicated employees continued to investigate and litigate cases involving fraud against the government and to ensure that citizens’ tax dollars are protected from abuse and are used for their intended purposes,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Bossert Clark.  

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“The continued success of the department’s False Claims Act enforcement efforts are a testament to the dedication of the civil servants who pursue these important cases as well as to the fortitude of whistleblowers who report fraud,” he added.

The department said in a press release that the largest recoveries in 2020 came from the drug industry, including one settlement in which Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation paid more than $591 million in fines over allegations it paid kickbacks to doctors to lobby them to prescribe its products. 

Claims related to health care marked the vast majority of those settled last year, when DOJ obtained more than $2.2 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government.

The claims came as the country grappled with the burgeoning coronavirus, which as of Thursday has infected more than 23 million people in America and killed nearly 387,000.