WALGREENS TO PAY $35 MILLION TO U.S., 46 STATES & PUERTO RICO TO SETTLE MEDICAID PRESCRIPTION DRUG FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

WASHINGTON – Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, Ill., has agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims that from 2001 to 2005, it improperly switched patients to different versions of the prescriptions drugs Ranitidine, Fluoxetine and Eldepryl in order to increase its reimbursement from Medicaid, the Justice Department announced today.

Walgreens, which operates over 5,000 retail pharmacies throughout the U.S., switched the prescriptions for Medicaid patients who were prescribed 150 mg or 300 mg tablets of Ranitidine to more expensive capsules; prescriptions for 10 mg or 20 mg capsules of Fluoxetine to more expensive tablets; and prescriptions for 5 mg tablets of Eldepryl to more expensive capsules. By switching the form of the drug dispensed to Medicaid patients, Walgreens substantially increased its reimbursement from Medicaid while providing no additional medical benefit to patients. See, USDOJ

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