Non-Disclosure Agreements and Healthcare Whistleblowers

In qui tam and whistleblower cases non-disclosure agreements can impact a case in many ways. Below, whistleblower attorney Tony Munter discusses these agreements in relation to the healthcare industry and how they can impact a qui tam case. For more on non-disclosure agreements, or to discuss a potential whistleblower case call and schedule a free consultation with a qui tam healthcare fraud attorney today.

How Common Are Non-Disclosure Agreements in The Healthcare Industry?

Non-disclosure agreements are not all that common generally. They may be common in the medical devices industry and the pharmaceutical industry where there is a matter of intellectual property and knowledge about just exactly how a medical device is being put together or that sort of thing you know would make it relatively common to have an NDA available.

With that said, however, nurses don’t typically sign NDAs for example. So NDA’s may be common only in certain industries such as some of the biotechnical and biotechnology industries.

Does an NDA Affect Whether I Can File a Whistleblower Case?

Generally  it shouldn’t affect filing a case very much depending of course on what they were reporting and whom they were reporting. Reporting frauds to the government is usually considered to be protected by public policy it is supposed to be something that people cannot just sign away easily. So an NDA on its own could probably not accomplish that. Obviously it depends on the circumstances and the specific agreement.  One thing to remember is that reporting to the government is a little different than taking intellectual property to a commercial competitor for which there would not be the same kind of public policy issue.

Can An NDA Expose You To Liability if You Blow the Whistle?

Almost anything can expose you to liability and since anything can expose anyone to liability at any given time, the smart thing to do with an NDA would be to keep a copy of it and show it to your attorney before taking any action to blow the whistle.

Generally, the right to blow the whistle to the government is going to be difficult to restrain under a Non-disclosure agreement depending on the terms. You know there may be issues with respect to employment agreements that may expose you to losing the employment agreement or there may be specific issues with respect to certain kinds of information as well. There are always circumstances that can give rise to new kinds of liabilities so obviously you are going to want to advise your lawyer as to all aspects of this area.