PHILADELPHIA— United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Thomas J. Whalen, D.O., 65, of Berwyn, PA, has agreed to pay the United States $1,257,499.00 to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that he submitted or caused the submission of false claims to federal health care plans for FDA-approved versions of Remicade, Orencia, Prolia/Xgeva, Synvisc/Synvisc One, and Boniva when he had, in fact, administered non-FDA-approved, foreign versions of these medications.
In addition, the civil settlement resolves admissions that Whalen knowingly and intentionally prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, in violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Whalen permanently surrendered his controlled substance registrations with the DEA, surrendered his medical license, and will be excluded from participation in federal programs.
Whalen owned and operated Rheumatology Consultants, P.C., doing business as Whalen Rheumatology Group, with locations in Havertown, PA, Exton, PA, and Wilmington, DE. As part of his practice, Whalen used medications administrated by injection and infusion to treat his patients. These medications, including Remicade Synvisc, Synvisc-One, Orencia, Prolia/Xgeva, and Boniva, are made of living cells and are expensive. Rather than purchase FDA-approved versions of these medicines from authorized distributors, Whalen devised a scheme to purchase much cheaper foreign, non-FDA-approved versions of these medications. Unbeknownst to his patients, Whalen injected or infused them with the non-FDA-approved medications and then billed health care programs as if he had used the approved medications and pocketed approximately $1.1 million in illicit gains.
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