Firm Files Lawsuit to Stop Healthcare Networks From Defrauding Free HIV Drug Program
On November 3, 2020, Patterson Belknap filed a lawsuit in Florida federal court on behalf of Gilead Sciences, Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical company, against two networks of healthcare providers in Florida engaged in schemes to defraud Gilead’s charitable free-drug program for critical pre-exposure prophylaxis (“PrEP”) HIV medication. The lawsuit is brought against more than fifty healthcare clinics, prescribers, medical laboratories, and pharmacies in Florida, as well as their respective principals and officers. A motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction was also filed. On the evening of November 3, Judge Kathleen M. Williams of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted Gilead’s expedited motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. Those Temporary Restraining Orders have now been converted into Preliminary Injunctions.
Gilead’s complaint alleges that the defendants have wrongfully obtained tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits by exploiting Gilead’s charitable program, which provides eligible uninsured persons with free, life-saving PrEP medication manufactured by Gilead. To perpetrate their fraud, defendants created elaborate schemes to recruit persons who are homeless or earn low incomes by offering small amounts of money; prescribe and dispense the recruits medically unnecessary PrEP medication; and claim reimbursement for the medication dispensed through Gilead’s assistance program. The complaint further alleges that the defendants are taking the dispensed PrEP medication back from these recruits to repackage and unlawfully redispense to other recruits or sell on the black market. Through these schemes, defendants have endangered the health and safety of thousands of individuals who are economically disadvantaged, and have placed Florida communities at an increased risk of exposure to HIV.
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