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Law Firm Freedland Russo Spearheads Record-Setting Whistleblower Case Against Pharmaceutical Giant Eli Lilly -- Firm Expands Offices to Include L.A. Entertainment Branch
Date:1/16/2009

rs found that 40% of all sales were attributed to off-label uses.

The "Whistleblower" statute, also known as the Civil False Claims Act, was put into effect to encourage people to come forward when they suspect their employer is defrauding the government. The statute allows them to remain anonymous while cooperating with authorities, and protects them from being harassed, demoted or terminated by their employer while an investigation is taking place. As an incentive to come forward, the law provides that whistleblowers can share in any money that is recovered in the lawsuit.

Freedland Russo's former partner, Gary Farmer, along with two other Pennsylvania law firms, filed the original whistleblower case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2003. Subsequently, other whistleblowers filed separate lawsuits. Now, six years later, the seal has been lifted on the entire case and details were made public. As part of the settlement, Ely Lilly will pay out $800 million on the civil side and Freedland Russo clients will get paid from that recovery. Eighty million dollars alone will be paid from the federal share. Freedland Russo clients will also be paid on the states' share of the recovery. In addition, Eli Lilly has pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor criminal count for violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act between September 1999 and March 31, 2001, and for that, will pay a criminal fine of $615 million.

Freedland, whose firm represents clients in whistleblower, personal injury and wrongful death cases, said this case was about good old fashioned greed that robbed U.S. taxpayers and put fragile lives in jeopardy.

"Through a calculating marketing scheme, Eli Lilly defrauded Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of billions of dollars," Freedland said. "In addition, the company had a willful disregard for vulnerable senior citizens by pushing drugs on them that they had no business taking." <
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