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McKesson pays $18 million to settle allegations of faulty vaccine transport

McKesson Corporation agreed to pay $18 million to resolve allegations that it improperly set temperature monitors used in shipping vaccines under its contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the DOJ said Friday.

San Francisco-based McKesson is a pharmaceutical distributor.

Under its government contract, McKesson took delivery of vaccines purchased by the government from manufacturers and then distributed the vaccines to health care providers, Whistleblower.Today said.

The contract required McKesson to ensure that during shipping, the vaccines were kept at proper temperatures by using monitors “set to detect when the air temperature in the box reached two degrees Celsius and below or eight degrees Celsius and above,” the DOJ said.

The DOJ alleged that for about six months in 2007, “McKesson failed to set the monitors to the appropriate range, and as a result, knowingly submitted false claims to the CDC for shipping and handling services that did not satisfy its contractual obligations.”
 
The allegations resolved Friday by the settlement were originally raised in a lawsuit filed against McKesson by Terrell Fox, a former finance director at McKesson Specialty Distribution LLC, under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act.

That law allows private citizens with knowledge of false claims to bring civil actions on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. 

Fox’s share of the settlement hasn’t been determined, Whistleblower Today said..

Since January 2009, the DOJ said it has recovered more than $20.2 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $14 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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