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SEC Filings

PROTEON THERAPEUTICS INC filed this Form 10-Q on 08/07/2017
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In the United States, engaging in the impermissible promotion of our products for off-label uses can also subject us to false claims litigation under federal and state statutes, which can lead to civil and criminal penalties and fines, debarment from government contracts, exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs and corporate integrity agreements with governmental authorities that materially restrict the manner in which a company promotes or distributes drug and biologic products. These false claims statutes include the federal civil False Claims Act, which allows any individual to bring a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company on behalf of the federal government alleging submission of false or fraudulent claims, or causing to present such false or fraudulent claims, for payment by a federal program such as Medicare or Medicaid. If the government decides to intervene and prevails in the lawsuit, the individual will share in any fines or settlement funds. If the government does not intervene, the individual may proceed on his or her own. Since 2004, these False Claims Act lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies have increased significantly in volume and breadth, leading to several substantial civil and criminal settlements regarding certain sales practices promoting off-label product uses involving fines that are as much as $3.0 billion.


This growth in litigation has increased the risk that a pharmaceutical company will have to defend a false claim action, pay settlement fines or restitution, agree to comply with burdensome reporting and compliance obligations, and be excluded from Medicare, Medicaid and other federal and state healthcare programs. If we do not lawfully promote our approved products, we may become subject to such litigation and, if we do not successfully defend against such actions, those actions may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. The FDA’s policies may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay marketing approval, and the sale and promotion of our product candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained, which would adversely affect our business, prospects and ability to achieve or sustain profitability.


If we are found in violation of federal or state “fraud and abuse” laws or other healthcare laws and regulations, we may be required to pay a penalty and/or be suspended from participation in federal or state healthcare programs, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.


We may also be subject to various federal and state laws pertaining to healthcare “fraud and abuse,” including anti-kickback laws and false claims laws. Anti-kickback laws make it illegal for a prescription drug or biologic manufacturer to solicit, offer, receive or pay any remuneration in exchange for, or to induce, the referral of business, including the purchase or prescription of a particular drug or biologic. Other laws that we may be subject to include the civil False Claims Act, criminal False Claims Act, the HIPAA fraud and abuse provisions, the Civil Monetary Penalties statute, Section 1927 of the Social Security Act, the Veterans Health Care Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, federal and state statutes and regulations pertaining to payments made to physicians and other health care providers, the HIPAA privacy and security provisions, and other analogous state laws. Due to the breadth of the statutory provisions, it is possible that our practices might be challenged under anti-kickback, healthcare, or other fraud and abuse laws. Moreover, recent healthcare reform legislation has strengthened these laws. For example, the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the federal anti-kickback and certain of the criminal healthcare fraud statutes to clarify that a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the ACA clarifies that the government may assert that a claim that includes items or services resulting from a violation of the federal anti-kickback statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act. False claims laws prohibit anyone from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented for payment, to government third-party payors (including Medicare and Medicaid) claims for reimbursed drugs, or biologics or services that are false or fraudulent, claims for items or services not provided as claimed, or claims for medically unnecessary items or services. Liability may also arise from false certification of compliance with laws and regulations that are conditions of payment. Our activities relating to the sale and marketing of our products may be subject to scrutiny under these laws. Violations of fraud and abuse laws, and other healthcare statutes are punishable by criminal and civil sanctions, including fines and civil monetary penalties, the possibility of exclusion from federal healthcare programs (including Medicare and Medicaid) and corporate integrity agreements, which impose, among other things, rigorous operational and monitoring requirements on companies. We may further be subject to such other actions as debarment from government contracts and future orders under existing contracts, refusal to allow us to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our business.