Walgreens to Pay $269 Million on FCA Claims It Overcharged Federal Programs

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has agreed to resolve two federal and state lawsuits under The False Claims Act for $269 million. The False Claims Act (FCA) was enacted by Congress long ago to effectively combat fraud against the federal government. In these two cases, Walgreens had been accused of overbilling federal health-care programs. The settlements were approved last week and made public this past Tuesday.

The first case in this matter settled for $209.2 million which Walgreens agreed to pay to the U.S. and several state governments for improperly billing Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health-care programs for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens it distributed to beneficiaries who did not require them. Walgreens devised its electronic pharmacy management system in such a way that it forced pharmacists to dispense a full box of five insulin pens, even when patients didn’t need that much. They also allegedly lied on reimbursement claims to the government. In the second case, Walgreens settled for $60 million when accused of overbilling Medicaid by failing to notify them of lower drug prices offered to the public through a discount program. They were filing for reimbursement claims and using the brand name prices instead of the generic discounted drug prices.

In many of these FCA cases, the illegal practices committed by organizations are brought forward by whistleblowers. Often times these whistleblowers are either employees of the company or private citizens and are awarded statutory awards for shedding light on fraud that would have otherwise have gone undetected. If you or anyone you know believes they may have information on a potential FCA case, please do not hesitate to call Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP for a free phone consultation. We can be reached at (212) 300-0375 or on our website for additional information.