Specialty Pharmacy Paying the Price: $20 Million Settlement for Kickbacks and Copay Waivers

A September 30, 2023, Department of Justice press release outlined a recent settlement between the U.S. government and a specialty pharmacy based in Delaware. The pharmacy agreed to pay a settlement of $20 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying kickbacks to patients in the form of routinely waived copayments and to physicians in exchange for providing patient referrals.

The government alleged that from August 2015 through May 2020, the pharmacy routinely waived copays for Medicare and TRICARE patients, regardless of any financial hardship need, to induce them to fill prescriptions at the pharmacy. Additional allegations include kickbacks to prescribers such as gifts, dinners, and free administrative and clinical support services to induce patient referrals to the pharmacy. The prescribers involved knowingly solicited and accepted the remuneration and have settled separately.

Two former employees, who acted as whistleblowers under a qui tam lawsuit to report these abuses to the government, will receive over $4 million as part of the settlement.

Make sure your pharmacy staff has implemented a robust set of FWA policies and procedures, including discussion of Anti-Kickback Statute, and are completing annual training on healthcare fraud, waste, and abuse. Protect your pharmacy by enrolling in the PAAS National® FWA/HIPAA Compliance Program today. Call us at (608) 873-1342 to get started.

Eric Hartkopf, PharmD