The Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis will pay Texas $19.9 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act. The whistleblower in this case, Donald Galmines, is a former Novartis marketing representative. Galmines’s suit alleges that the pharmaceutical manufacturer falsely marketed its drug, Elidel, which has been approved by the FDA for use on patients ages two and up who suffer from eczema and who were not seeing results from the “first-line” treatment options.
The off-label, misleading marketing suspected by Novartis was that they promoted the drug to be used by children younger than two years of age even though this was not proven safe and effective by the FDA. Novartis was also allegedly paying kickbacks to medical professionals to encourage them to prescribe Elidel.
Galmines originally filed the suit in Pennsylvania, however the DOJ elected not to intervene. Galmines then decided to proceed with the case on behalf of the United States and five other states.
If a settlement is reached, the whistleblower, Galmines, will be paid between 15 and 25 percent.
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