A False Claims Act case alleging PharMerica Corp. defrauded Medicare and Medaid by billing for prescriptions that had illegally altered dosages will continue, thanks to a recent ruling by a federal judge in Pennsylvania.
Judge Cynthia M. Rufe denied the firm’s attempt to dismiss the allegations that it submitted false claims for federal reimbursements for various substances and brand-name drugs that were illegally substituted for generics. The suit also alleged the company retaliated against the former executive that blew the whistle on its illegal practices.
A group of whistleblowers first brought forth the FCA suit in 2015. They claimed PharMerica was routinely using a computerized dispensing system that would substitute name-brand drugs for generics.
There are a number of state and federal laws in place that require pharmacies to provide drugs that are the equivalent to brand-name drugs, so swapping out the brand-name drugs for generics to be able to boost reimbursement amounts would be considered a false claim.
One of the whistleblowers was the company’s former Executive Vice President, Lena Sturgeon, who alleged the company created a smear campaign against her as a means to discredit her claims of PharMerica’s wrongdoing. She also saw a “sudden diminution” of her duties after she confronted a senior executive about the issue.
This is far from the first time PharMerica has been embroiled in legal issues. The company has shelled out millions of dollars in FCA litigation since 2015.
For more information about the steps you can take to blow the whistle on false claims in your workplace, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.