Rite Aid Corporation has agreed to pay the United States $2.99 million to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit. It was alleged that Rite Aid violated the False Claims Act by inappropriately using gift cards as inducements. It was alleged further that Rite Aid offered illegal inducements to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to Rite Aid pharmacies. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that from 2008 to 2010, Rite Aid had knowingly and improperly influenced the decisions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to Rite Aid pharmacies by offering them gift cards in exchange for their business. Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), stated:
Pharmacies are not allowed to improperly influence the decision-making of Medicare and Medicaid patients about where to fill prescriptions. Pharmacy chains that manipulate patient choices in this way will be held accountable.
The lawsuit was filed by Jack Chin, a pharmacist, under the qui tam (whistleblower) provisions of the False Claims Act. It’s important to note that the qui tam provisions enable private citizens to bring claims against parties on behalf of the U.S. Government. Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $23.2 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $14.9 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs. If you need more information on whistleblower litigation, contact Lance Gould, a lawyer in our firm’s Consumer Fraud Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Lance.Gould@beasleyallen.com.
Source: Corporate Crime Reporter
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