Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

False Claims Act

Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

False Claims Act

Article excerpt

No Fraudulent Claims in Blood Plasma Testing

Joan P. Luckey wasn't so lucky in her qui tam action under the False Claims Act against Baxter Healthcare Corp. and her claim that she was fired in violation of the act. The Seventh Circuit affirmed a summary judgment in Baxter's favor. Luckey ex rel. United States v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 183 F.3d 730 (7th Cir. 1999).

Luckey, who had worked for Baxter as a lab technician, claimed that the company had falsely represented to the government that it had tested incoming blood plasma. Federal regulations require that incoming units of blood plasma be tested for hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus before they are commingled with a larger pool from which commercial blood plasma products are prepared. Her contention was that Baxter should have used a total protein test to determine whether each incoming plasma unit contained saline solution, whereas the Baxter procedure was to administer the total protein test after pooling.

The principal difficulty with Lackey's argument, the court said, was its equation of ineffective testing with no testing, followed by the proposition that a battle of experts in litigation determines whether testing is "effective." The court noted that while the federal regulations require testing for hepatitis and HIV, they do not require a supplier to administer a total protein test to each incoming unit. …

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