March 10, 2023
Janssen Biotech Inc. must hand over its communications with federal agencies regarding a former employee’s claims filed on behalf of the government that the company paid doctors kickbacks to boost its drug sales, a Boston federal judge ordered.
Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley settled a crossfire of discovery motions in an order Thursday that found Janssen’s communications with the federal government about the claims were “undeniably relevant and not privileged” and should be handed over to relator Julie Long.
The ruling gives Janssen two weeks to provide Long its communications with the U.S. Department of Justice, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The biotech was also ordered to produce contracts it had with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP which disclose how much Janssen paid the firm to run free phone seminars for physicians about changes in Medicare rates.
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The discovery orders issued Thursday followed Long’s insistence that Janssen was “stonewalling” her on the case by delaying court-ordered production plans. But Janssen had countered that Long was the one causing “unnecessary delays” with her burdensome demands.
Long’s attorney Theodore Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC said in a statement Friday that his client is cleared with the ruling.
“We look forward to getting the long-delayed document production and relevant names of those individuals involved with the decision-making that has led to this litigation,” Leopold said.
Representatives for Janssen were not immediately available for comment on Friday.
Julie Long is represented by Jonathan Shapiro and Lynn G. Weissberg of Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin and Casey M. Preston, Gary L. Azorsky, Jeanne A. Markey, Leslie Kroeger, Theodore Jon Leopold, Diana L. Martin and Poorad Razavi of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
Read the article on Law360.