Whistleblower Settles False Claims Act Suit Against Pharmaceutical Giant Celgene For $280 Million

Pharmaceutical giant Celgene Corporation has agreed to pay $280 million to resolve claims brought by whistleblower Beverly Brown relating to the marketing and sale of Celgene’s blockbuster drugs, Thalomid and Revlimid. The settlement is the second largest recovery ever recorded in a non-intervened case brought under the federal False Claims Act.

The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers – known as “relators” – to bring suit in the name of the government against individuals or entities that caused the fraudulent or improper expenditure of government funds.

Ms. Brown is a former Celgene sales representative who, in 2010, filed suit against Celgene under the False Claims Act on behalf of the United States government and 29 states and municipalities.* Ms. Brown alleged that Celgene both illegally promoted Thalomid and Revlimid for uses that were off-label – i.e., not approved by the FDA – and paid illegal kickbacks to healthcare providers and others in an effort to increase the sales of its drugs.

After Ms. Brown filed suit in 2010, the case remained under seal for four years while the government investigated. In 2014, the government declined to intervene, leaving Ms. Brown to either dismiss the case or pursue it on her own. Ms. Brown elected to pursue the case on her own.

The case was thereafter one of the most extensively-litigated pharmaceutical cases ever brought under the False Claims Act. It involved the review of millions of documents, numerous discovery motions and potentially case dispositive motions, approximately 40 fact and expert depositions, and dozens of pre-trial motions. The parties collectively designated 17 expert witnesses, consisting of some of the nation’s leading experts in the fields of pharmaceutical economics, drug safety and medical ethics.

The parties reached a…

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