WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida compounding pharmacy accused of paying kickbacks to a third-party marketing company in order to obtain referrals for compound drug prescribers has reached a settlement with the federal government.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Vital Life Institute LLC, formerly know as AgeVital Pharmacy LLC, paid the marketing company a portion of its TRICARE and Medicare reimbursement for prescriber referrals. The department alleges AgeVital Pharmacy violated the False Claims Act Anti-Kickback statue.
“These prescriptions were ordered to increase profits, not improve the health care of patients," saidU.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) special agent in charge Shimon Richmond said in a statement. "Health care providers who satiate their greed at the expense of the American taxpayer will not be tolerated. This settlement demonstrates the resolve of OIG and our law enforcement partners to root out fraud, waste, and abuse in our health care system.”
“The department will continue to hold accountable providers that pay illegal kickbacks to induce patient referrals,” Civil Division assistant attorney general Jody Hunt said in a statement. “Kickback schemes undermine public trust in our health care system and lead to unnecessary health care costs at taxpayers’ expense.”
The allegations against AgeVital stem from a lawsuit filed by a Florida man, Manfred Knopf, whose unwanted compounded medications were billed to Medicare, according to the DOJ.
AgeVital will pay at least $775,000 as part of the settlement agreement, with Knopf receiving at least $139,500, the department said.