Walgreens and the Department of Justice have reached a $50 million settlement agreement in a civil fraud lawsuit that alleged the retail pharmacy chain violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.
The allegations suggest Walgreens offered discounts and other monetary incentives to government beneficiaries in an attempt to induce them into utilizing its pharmacies for all of their prescription drug needs.
- The federal government stepped up enforcement actions under the Obama administration when it came to violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute, a report issued last week by the HHS Office of Inspector General shows.
Just last week, the DOJ and HHS announced it had recovered $3.3 billion in fraudulent health claims and overpayments in 2016. If early 2017 reports are any indication, the government will continue to aggressively target providers who fail to comply with federal laws and regulations regarding fraud, abuse, and waste.
Walgreens is at least the second organization offering healthcare services involved in a settlement over False Claims Act or Anti-Kickback Statute violations announced in 2017. Earlier this year, the DOJ announced MedStar Ambulance had reached a $12.7 million settlement stemming from alleged False Claims Act violations.
The Obama administration made it a point to to use the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute as vehicles to recover money that was inappropriately paid to providers, according to National Law Review report. While it is possible that the number of FCA cases will decrease with an ACA repeal, healthcare providers could expect the same level of enforcement activity moving forward because Trump has suggested he would make defense procurements more affordable, the report added.