For three years, supporters of a state False Claims Act, an anti-fraud measure proven to save taxpayer money, failed to prevail at the Minnesota Legislature. This year, the whistleblowers got their law, as Whistleblower reported today. Perhaps it helped to have a local face and a big ticket payoff from a successful whistleblower lawsuit that originated in Minnesota.
Neil Thompson, the pharmacist turned lawyer turned whistleblower I wrote about last year, told me that if a state False Claims Act were in place at the time, Minnesota taxpayers could have gained another $270,000 from the Medicaid overbilling lawsuit he and fellow Minneapolis pharmacist Dan Bieurance filed against Walgreens. On Wednesday, Thompson sounded less than enthused about the law Minnesota ended up with, after months of committee hearings, compromises and an intra-DFL dustup between attorney-lawmakers and attorneys general past and present. Still, Thompson said it’s a building block for what he hopes will be amended into a tougher measure in the future. “At least we got it,” he said.