Pocketing cash Offendingorganizations ran the gamut from drug and medical devicemanufacturers and insurers to hospitals, pharmacies, hospiceorganizations, laboratories and doctors.

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It was a pretty good year for the Justice Department when itcame to recovering funds that had gone out for fraudulent and falseclaims.

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According to Modern Healthcare, recoveries from such casesare on the rise, with 2017's $2.1 billion and 2018's $2.5 billionbeing surpassed in 2019 with $2.6 billion as of the end of thefiscal year on September 30. The Justice Department is cited sayingthat 2019 was the 10th straight year in which settlements andjudgments from health care companies for alleged fraud topped $2billion.

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"The significant number of settlements and judgments obtainedover the past year demonstrate the high priority thisadministration places on deterring fraud against the government andensuring that citizens' tax dollars are well spent," AssistantAttorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.

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Related: Telemedicine exec ordered to pay $200 million inMedicare fraud conspiracy

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Offending organizations ran the gamut from drug and medicaldevice manufacturers and insurers to hospitals, pharmacies, hospiceorganizations, laboratories and doctors. And that $2.6 billion isjust federal losses—the Justice Department also recovered millionsmore for state Medicaid programs.

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Health care companies' Achilles heel was the intervention ofwhistleblowers, with such people accounting for some 505 cases.Their share of the legal recoveries amounted to $244.2 million in2019, which was actually down from $306.1 million the yearbefore.

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Opioid manufacturers accounted for two of the biggestrecoveries, with Insys Therapeutics paying $195 million tosettle allegations it paid kickbacks to clinicians to prescribe anaddictive painkiller called Subsys, and Reckitt Benckiser paying$500 million to the federal government on civil claims of promotingthe addiction treatment drug and opioid Suboxone for unsafe uses.The latter forked over a total of $1.4 billion total to resolvecivil and criminal allegations, the report says.

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Seven drugmakers paid a combined total of $624 million toresolve claims of illegally paying Medicare patients' copays fortheir own drugs through foundations that they used as conduits.According to the Justice Department, that action facilitates drugprice hikes.

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Then there were cases of misrepresentation of products by healthcare companies as well as kickbacks paid to referringphysicians.

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Health care accounted for the lion's share of recoveries, withthe Justice Department saying that across all False Claims Actcases it recovered $3.1 billion, up from $2.9 billion in 2018.Those totals have grown to $62 billion since the strengthening ofthe civil False Claims Act in 1986 to encourage whistleblowers toreport fraud.

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