Jury finds Eli Lilly liable for defrauding Medicaid, must pay $61M in damages

Aug 5, 2022. More than eight years after a former pharmacist sued Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb and other drugmakers for allegedly skimping out on Medicaid rebates, Lilly’s day in court has finally come.

Now, a jury has found the Indianapolis-based company liable for defrauding the nation’s Medicaid program and ordered it to shell out $61 million in damages.

Because the damages are trebled under the False Claims Act, meanwhile, the final judgement will exceed $183 million, the law firm of whistleblower Ronald Streck—Walden Macht & Haran (WM&H)—said in a Wednesday release.

Lilly told Fierce Pharma via email that the company “is committed to upholding high standards of corporate conduct in our business dealings.”

“We are obviously disappointed with the jury’s verdict and we are confident that Lilly will ultimately prevail in this case,” a company spokesperson said, adding that Lilly “will be seeking to vacate the jury’s verdict and for judgment to be entered in Lilly’s favor.”

“The jury has spoken,” said Streck’s lawyer, Dan Miller, in a statement. “Eli Lilly knowingly violated the False Claims Act and defrauded the Medicaid Program of $61 million in taxpayer money.”

Streck—a pharmacist and lawyer—filed suit against Eli Lilly in 2014, WM&H points out. His lawsuit alleges Lilly launched retroactive price increases on its drugs and failed to pay Medicaid rebates on the new, pricier meds.

Streck and his attorneys moved forward with litigation in 2018 after “the Government declined to intervene,” Streck’s law firm said.

Since then, Streck and his compatriots have successfully warded off two motions to dismiss by Lilly and another defendant, Astellas Pharma U.S. (fiercepharma.com)