Walgreen’s, the nation’s largest chain drugstore, yesterday agreed to pay $35 million in settlement to a federal whistleblower lawsuit which alleged it had substituted more expensive versions of three prescription drugs from July 2001 thru 2005 to Medicaid programs from 42 states and Puerto Rico. (Article)
Pharmacist Bernard Lisitza – who will get about $5 million -- also successfully sued CVS Caremark Corporation back in March, and Omnicare, Inc. in November 2006.
An Associated Press report this morning said the only states not part of the action were Alaska, California, Delaware, Hawaii, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. The District of Columbia was not party to the action either.
Press releases from the attorney general offices of Ohio and Indiana indicated that the settlement also resolved allegations that Walgreen’s had made wholesale switches without physician involvement and therefore violated numerous state regulations governing pharmaceutical dispensing.
The three cases together recovered $120 million to the various state Medicaid programs. Ohio received $4.7 million from the Omnicare case, $1.7 million from the CVS case last March, and $161,000 from today’s settlement. Indiana’s Medicaid program is receiving $28, 479 from Walgreen’s, and had picked up $1.7 million from the two earlier cases.