George B. Breen, Erica Sibley Bahnsen, and Daniel C. Fundakowski, attorneys in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, co-authored an article in Law360, titled “Key FCA Developments from 2020 and What to Expect Next.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):
While the U.S. Department of Justice’s recoveries decreased substantially, fiscal year 2020 saw the largest total number of new False Claims Act matters brought in a single year. The DOJ initiated new FCA matters at its highest rate since 1994, and the number of DOJ-initiated cases against health care entities more than doubled from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2020, the highest level ever reported.
Qui tam relators filed 672 new cases in fiscal year 2020, an increase over fiscal year 2019 and the fifth highest number of cases in reported history, filing, on average, almost 13 new cases per week, 68% of which were related to the health care and life sciences industries.
More than $2.2 billion was recovered from settlements and judgments in fiscal year 2020, the lowest level since 2008, and almost $1 billion less than fiscal year 2019. Notably, over 80% of recoveries, amounting to almost $1.9 billion, came from the health care and life sciences industries.
Health care-related recoveries focused on cases pursued against drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, laboratories and physicians.
The most significant recoveries again came from the pharmaceutical industry and involved allegations of improper patient copay amounts and illegal kickbacks. These recoveries include those related to the opioid crisis, which continues to be a point of emphasis for DOJ enforcement actions.