In an opinion openly skeptical of a relator’s knowledge, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the dismissal of False Claims Act claims against a Chicago pharmacy brought by a former employee of the pharmacy. The principal claims in the case, Grenadyor v. Ukrainian Village Pharmacy, Inc., were that the pharmacy’s practice of soliciting and keeping its base of mostly Ukrainian customers by providing gifts of caviar and Russian language TV Guides, as well as waiving co-pays, amounted to kickbacks in violation of the federal (and several state) anti-kickback statutes.
Judge Richard A. Posner, the author of the court’s opinion, revealed his distaste for the relator early in the opinion by describing him as a “bounty hunter”. The court rejected most of the relator’s claims because he had failed to identify a single patient who received gift bags worth more than the de minimis $50, even though the relator had amended his complaint ostensibly to correct this deficiency, and had not alleged that the pharmacy intended to offer kickbacks when it certified to the government that it would abide by Medicare and other federal laws. Continue reading 7th Circuit Clarifies FCA Fraud Standard