Recently, a California district court denied a False Claims Act defendant’s motion for summary judgment, for the relator sufficiently qualified for Act’s so-called “Public Disclosure Bar Original Source Exception.” In the main, this court decision would have been less-than-noteworthy. However, it is worth consideration, particularly from the pharmaceutical industry, for the relator and the defendant are competing pharmaceutical companies.
Originally, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis S.A. battled it out in 2008 in a patent dispute over Sanofi-Aventis’s anticoagulant drug. In January 2009, after the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding of the unenforceability of the Enoxaparin patent, Amphastar filed a federal and state False Claims Act qui tam action against Sanofi-Aventis, claiming that Sanofi-Aventis fraudulently inflated the price of Enoxaparin charged to Government Healthcare Programs.
Ultimately, the federal and state governments declined to intervene in October 2011. However, since then, Amphastar has survived several motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. The case now appears headed for trial. With companies regularly complaining about the unscrupulous business practices of their competitors, a lot of industry eyes are now watching this case.
More information for whistleblowers is located at the Nolan Auerbach & White website.