Mo. AG joins national settlement with Walgreens

By Bryan Cohen | May 24, 2012


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Wednesday that Missouri will participate in a national settlement with Walgreens that returns $42,000 to the state's Medicaid program.

The settlement with Walgreens resolves allegations that the company unlawfully offered gift cards and gift checks between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 11, 2010, to influence individuals participating in government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid to transfer their prescriptions to Walgreens' pharmacies.

Under federal and state law, healthcare providers may not make any type of payment to induce participants in government sponsored healthcare programs to purchase particular services or goods provided under the programs.

Walgreens will pay the federal government and participating states $7.9 million in civil damages for the Federal Employees Health Benefits, TRICARE, Medicare and Medicaid programs. The settlement amount is based on the total that Walgreens offered in gift checks and gift cards. Medicaid programs nationwide will get $643,230 of the settlement and the rest will go to the other federal programs.

"All parties involved with the Medicaid program must follow the rules," Koster said. "I am pleased we were able to recover these funds and return scarce health care dollars to the state of Missouri."

The initial allegations were brought to the government by two whistleblowers in two separate lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act and state False Claims Act statutes.

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