In a boost for the pharmaceutical industry, a federal judge dismissed a pair of lawsuits that alleged two large drug makers devised schemes in which nurses were used illegally to promote their medicines and boost prescriptions, an arrangement that purportedly violated federal kickback laws.
The ruling is also a win for the federal government as it attempts to implement a new policy for dismissing whistleblower lawsuits when declining to intervene, or join the case. A Department of Justice memo issued last year directed its attorneys to consider moving to dismiss lawsuits if they appear deficient or following an investigation of claims made by the whistleblower.
In a decision late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Schroeder III agreed that the Justice Department had discretion to seek to dismiss the lawsuits against Eli Lilly (LLY) and Bayer (BAYRY). The government had argued the lawsuits should be dismissed, largely because there were insufficient facts to make it worthwhile to use government resources to pursue the cases.