Government Law

Retired pharmacist is a multimillionaire, thanks to whistle-blowing; he will benefit from $2.2B deal

A retired pharmacist has boosted his earnings from whistle-blowing, thanks to a $2.2 billion settlement announced Monday with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and some of its subsidiaries.

Including the take from yesterday’s settlement, Bernard Lisitza, 74, has now earned more than $31 million from whistleblowing, the Chicago Tribune (sub. req.) reports. It is the fifth case in which he has helped the government uncover pharmaceutical fraud, the story says.

Lisitza was fired in 2001 from Omnicare, a pharmacy for nursing homes, after complaining about some of the company’s practices, the Tribune says, citing information in court papers. He had been a supervisor at a Chicago-area office of Omnicare. Lisitza sued in 2007, alleging that Johnson & Johnson paid kickbacks to the company.

Government insurance often pays for nursing home medications; a government lawsuit effectively absorbed Lisitza’s case, the story says.

The deal announced on Monday by Attorney General Eric Holder settled allegations that Johnson & Johnson marketed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal and two other medications for unapproved uses. The government had alleged J&J paid kickbacks to Omnicare for promoting the drugs.

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