A South Georgia pharmacy company and pharmacist have agreed to pay the U.S. government $2.175 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging they cheated the Medicare program and violated the Controlled Substances Act.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, an investigation of Rhine Drug Company of Rhine, Georgia, and its owner Andrew “Carter” Clements Jr. found that the defendants violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to Medicare for drugs that they never dispensed to patients.
The U.S. government also alleged that Rhine Drug and Mr. Clements negligently failed to make, keep, or provide certain drug dispensing records in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said the settlement is the largest False Claims Act recovery with a pharmacy or pharmacist and largest recovery of civil penalties under the Controlled Substances Act in the history of the Southern District of Georgia.
“Pharmacists are supposed to bill only for what they dispense and they’re to keep accurate records of the prescription drugs they let walk out of their pharmacies,” Acting U.S. Attorney James Durham said in a statement. “This U. S. Attorney’s Office will hold accountable those pharmacists and pharmacies that seek financial gain at the expense of the public by cutting corners.”
“Billing Medicare for prescription drugs that were never dispensed to patients is a serious allegation,” Derrick L Jackson, Department of Health and Human Services Special Agent said. “Our agency, in concert with our law enforcement partners, is dedicated to safeguarding the integrity of all federally funded health care programs.”