On September 8, 2017, Galena Biopharma Inc. settled with the DOJ for more than $7.55 million for paying kickbacks to doctors encouraging them to prescribe the fentanyl-based drug Abstral, in violation of the False Claims Act (“FCA”).  The government claims, among other infractions, that Galena provided more than 85 free meals to physicians and medical staff from one particular, high-prescribing practice; gave doctors and speakers $5,000 and $6,000, respectively, plus expenses, to participate in an “advisory board” that was planned in part and attended by Galena sales team members; and paid approximately $92,000 to a doctor-owned pharmacy through an incentive-based rebate program that induced the pharmacy’s owners to prescribe Astral.  Two doctors who received compensation from Galena were convicted by a jury and sentenced to prison in the Southern District of Alabama for offenses relating to their prescriptions of Abstral, in addition to other illegal conduct.  The claims arose from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by realtor Lynne Dougherty under the FCA, who will receive over $1.2 million as her portion of the recovery.

DOJ Press Release