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Walgreens, accused of healthcare fraud, settles allegations for millions

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Posted at 8:55 AM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 13:12:45-05

The U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin says Walgreens has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle allegations that it failed to comply with Medicaid rules designed to ensure that stimulant medications are dispensed for appropriate medical treatment.

The Wisconsin Medicaid program reimburses a pharmacy for dispensing certain stimulant medications only if it first verifies that a physician prescribed the stimulant for medically appropriate treatment, such as attention deficient disorder.

Federal and state authorities allege that from 2011 through 2014, Walgreens violated Wisconsin Medicaid rules by routinely dispensing stimulant medications to Wisconsin Medicaid beneficiaries without that verification in violation of the False Claims Act.

Authorities say this settlement falls under the same Corporate Integrity Agreement that was recently announced in relation to cases being settled in New York. In that state, Walgreens agreed to pay a collective $269.2 million in two different settlements. Walgreens was also accused in New York of improperly billing healthcare programs.

Walgreens has issued a statement on the settlement:

Walgreens is pleased to have resolved these matters with the Department of Justice. The company fully cooperated with the government and has admitted no wrongdoing. Walgreens is a company of pharmacists living and working in the communities we serve, and we have always taken the safety and reliability of the medicines our patients need very seriously. We are resolving these matters because we believe it is in the best interest of our customers, patients and other stakeholders to move forward.

The settlement amounts have been fully reserved for in the Company Consolidated Condensed Financial Statement as of November 30, 2018. In relation to these matters, Walgreens has entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The CIA builds upon the company’s already existing comprehensive compliance program.

Walgreens operates retail pharmacies throughout Wisconsin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.