Walgreens Pharmacy Settles Qui Tam Lawsuit for $35M

One of America’s largest pharmacies, Walgreens, has reportedly settled a Qui Tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit for $35 million for allegedly increasing the price of certain drugs paid for by Medicaid – a U.S. health program for individuals and families with low incomes.

The lawsuit

A pharmacist filed the whistleblower lawsuit against Illinois based Walgreens alleging that the company switched Medicaid patients from lesser to more expensive drugs such as Ranitidine (generic Zantac), Fluoxetine (generic Prozac) and Eldepryl or Selegiline (generic Eldepryal) in order to increase how much the company received in reimbursements from the federal government. Ironically, the same pharmacist also exposed CVS and Omnicare of similar behavior that led to settlements of $36 million and $49 million respectively.

The settlement

Walgreens settled the lawsuit for $35 million, but said that it was not admitting any wrongdoing. According to news reports, the federal government and 42 states will share in the settlement funds. The whistleblower will walk away with $5 million.

How Qui Tam lawsuits work

Qui Tam lawsuits are filed on behalf of the government by private citizens under the False Claims Act and generally include not delivering goods that were sold, overcharging for goods or services, making false statements about the quality of a product, improperly testing a product or any other scheme that is designed to defraud the government.

If the lawsuit is successful, the whistleblower, also know as a relator, will share in the amount recovered – which is generally between 15 to 30% of the government’s total recovery along with additional civil penalties. It is not uncommon for verdicts, like those listed above, to reach several millions of dollars. In fact, many verdicts and settlements can reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

If you’ve uncovered fraud or corruption against a government entity, you may have a valid lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help you with the process. To discuss your situation with a qualified attorney, please click here. Consultations are strictly confidential, free and without any obligation.

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