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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novartis AG must face a U.S. government lawsuit accusing it of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to doctors so they would prescribe its drugs, after a federal judge ruled in a decision released on Monday that the government had offered evidence of a “company-wide kickback scheme.”. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan also rejected the Swiss drugmaker’s bid to keep key government evidence out of the case, and ruled that the government does not have to prove a direct “quid pro quo” agreement between Novartis and doctors for the company to be liable.

The ruling means that, unless Novartis settles, the case is headed for trial, “We are disappointed in today’s decision and look forward to presenting our case at trial,” Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff said in an email, cufflinks macy's “We continue to believe that the government has insufficient evidence to support its claims.”, The case began in 2011 as a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Oswald Bilotta, a former Novartis sales representative, Such lawsuits, brought under the federal False Claims Act, allow individuals to sue on behalf of the government, which may choose to intervene..

The U.S. government and the state of New York both intervened in the case in 2013, accusing Novartis of paying doctors kickbacks so they would prescribe several of its drugs, including hypertension drugs Lotrel and Valturna and diabetes drug Starlix. Those kickbacks included speaking fees for doctors at “sham” educational events, the lawsuit said, with one doctor being paid to speak at his own office eight times. The company also treated doctors to lavish meals, including a $9,750 dinner for three at a Japanese restaurant, according to the lawsuit.

Government health insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid were billed millions of dollars from 2002 to 2011 for drugs prescribed by doctors who took kickbacks, the lawsuit said, violating the False Claims Act, The government is seeking damages of three times what it was billed for allegedly fraudulent claims, Novartis has previously settled U.S, allegations that it used illegal methods to promote its medicines, In 2010, it agreed to pay $422 million to settle various civil and criminal allegations, including claims of paying kickbacks to cufflinks macy's doctors, Novartis pleaded guilty to mislabeling one drug as part of that settlement, but otherwise did not admit wrongdoing..

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday issued a proposal that would make it more difficult to prove companies are liable for the wage law violations of their contractors or franchisees, a top priority for business groups. If adopted, the rule would likely help fast-food companies and other franchisors who have been sued by workers in recent years for wage-law violations by franchisees. The department in 2017 had already repudiated legal guidance issued by the Obama administration that had expanded the circumstances in which a company could be considered a so-called joint employer under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in a statement said Monday’s proposal would reduce litigation under the FLSA and provide clarity cufflinks macy's to businesses and courts, The FLSA mandates that workers be paid the minimum wage and overtime, among other requirements, Publication of the rule kicked off a 60-day public comment period, Under the proposal, companies would be considered joint employers only if they hire, fire, and supervise employees, set their pay, and maintain employment records, That would likely exclude many franchisors and companies that hire contract labor..

The Obama administration’s guidance included several other factors, such as the nature of the work being performed and whether workers were integral to a company’s business. That definition of joint employment had rankled the business community, which said it threatened the franchise business model and would lead to a spike in lawsuits. Matt Haller, vice president at the International Franchise Association, a trade group, said the Obama-era rule had led to frivolous lawsuits and changed the way franchisors interacted with franchisees.

“Through this proposal, the cufflinks macy's Department of Labor has the chance to undo one of the most harmful economic regulations from the past administration,” he said, The Obama-era regulation was not legally binding, but Monday’s proposal would be if it is adopted, That would make it more difficult for future administrations to undo, but also open it up to legal challenges, The proposal comes as the National Labor Relations Board is moving to roll back a separate Obama-era standard for determining joint employment under federal labor law, which governs union organizing and workers’ rights to advocate for better working conditions, Under a rule the NLRB proposed in September, companies would have to possess direct control over working conditions to be considered the joint employer of franchise or contract workers..

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