1. News
January 23, 2019

Walgreens to pay $269.2m to settle two healthcare fraud lawsuits in US

The US Department of Justice has ordered drugstore chain Walgreens to pay $269.2m to settle two healthcare fraud lawsuits.

The US Department of Justice has ordered drugstore chain Walgreens to pay $269.2m to settle two healthcare fraud lawsuits.

The national pharmacy chain has been accused of overbilling federal healthcare programmes.

Approved by the US District Judge Paul A Crotty, the retailer is required to pay $209.2m under the first lawsuit for improperly billing Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare programmes.

According to this lawsuit, the company intentionally dispensed hundreds of thousands of insulin pens to programme beneficiaries who did not need them.

Under the second settlement, approved by the US District Judge J Paul Oetken, the company has been asked to pay $60m as it failed to offer the same drug prices offered to the public through another discount drug programme, Prescription Savings Club.

“Walgreens engaged in practices that undermined the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programmes, compromised patient care, and wasted taxpayer dollars.”

The retailer admitted and accepted responsibility for the allegations in both settlements.

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US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) special agent Scott J Lampert said:  “Walgreens engaged in practices that undermined the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programmes, compromised patient care, and wasted taxpayer dollars.

“Along with our law enforcement partners, HHS-OIG will continue to protect the individuals that depend on federally funded health care programmes, and ensure that companies that do business with those programmes do so in an honest fashion.”

Walgreens will pay approximately $168m to the US Government, as well as $41.2m separately to state governments under the first settlement.

The retailer will pay a total of $60m for the second settlement, with $32m going to the US Government and the remaining $28m to state governments.

The drugstore chain has signed a corporate integrity agreement with HHS-OIG in a move to ensure future compliance with federal healthcare programmes.