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Walgreens Boots Alliance settles lawsuits

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WASHINGTON — Walgreens Boots Alliance has agreed to pay more than $269 million to settle federal and state lawsuits that accused the retailer of overbilling federal health-care programs.

WBA logoThe pharmacy chain will pay $209.2 million to resolve claims that it improperly billed Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs from 2006 to 2017 for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens it dispensed to patients it knew did not need them.

Walgreens will also pay $60 million to resolve claims it overcharged Medicaid from 2008 to 2017 by failing to disclose and charge the discount drug prices it offered the public through its Prescription Savings Club program.

“Walgreens is pleased to have resolved these matters with the Department of Justice,” the company said in a statement. “The company fully cooperated with the government and has admitted no wrongdoing. Walgreens is a company of pharmacists living and working in the communities we serve, and we have always taken the safety and reliability of the medicines our patients need very seriously. We are resolving these matters because we believe it is in the best interest of our customers, patients and other stakeholders to move forward.”

Walgreens said it set aside enough money for both settlements as of Nov. 30, 2018. It also entered a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure future compliance with federal healthcare programs.

“The settlement amounts have been fully reserved for in the Company Consolidated Condensed Financial Statement as of November 30, 2018,” the company’s statement said. “In relation to these matters, Walgreens has entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The CIA builds upon the company’s already existing comprehensive compliance program.”

Walgreens’ settlements resolve claims under the federal False Claims Act, which lets private whistleblowers sue on the federal government’s behalf and share in recoveries.

The accords were respectively approved last week by U.S. District Judges Paul Crotty and Paul Oetken, who both are in Manhattan.

About $200 million of the payout will go to the federal government, and the rest to state governments.


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