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Coakley: Walmart, Target to pay $232,000 for alleged overcharges

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jul 5, 2012


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Popular retail chains Walmart and Target have agreed to pay $232,000 to cities and towns across Massachusetts, state Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Tuesday.

According to Coakley's office, the retailers allegedly overcharged public agencies for prescription drugs through the workers' compensation insurance system.

Under the terms of the settlements, filed in Suffolk County Superior Court Monday, the State and cities and towns will receive $207,000 from Walmart and $25,000 from Target.

The payments include double damages for violations of the state's False Claims Act and restitution for alleged overcharges. The terms also require the chains to put procedures in place to guard against future overcharges.

"Cities and towns are under a great deal of economic pressure to provide much needed services to their residents," Coakley said in a statement Tuesday.

"We are proud of our work to get money back for cities and towns and to prevent such overcharges from happening in the future."

Those cities and towns affected by the allegations against Walmart and Target include Amherst, Boston, Concord, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Hingham, Lowell, Plymouth, Springfield and Worcester.

This week's settlement is part of the attorney general's ongoing investigation into other entities with Massachusetts pharmacy licenses, such as supermarkets and general retailers.

Major pharmacy chains CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens -- which Coakley alleged also overcharged towns and cities for drugs -- have also settled with the Attorney General's Office.

So far, the attorney general's investigations -- including settlements with lower-volume alternative retailers -- have recovered more than $8 million.

The investigation of prescription overcharges to municipalities under the workers' compensation system is ongoing, Coakley said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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