Pharmacist gets $500,000 in Rite Aid whistleblower case

December 9, 2014

Rite Aid Corp. recently agreed to pay $2.99 million to settle federal charges it used gift cards to entice Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to its pharmacies.

Rite Aid Corp. recently agreed to pay $2.99 million to settle federal charges it used gift cards to entice Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to its pharmacies.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from 2008 to 2010, Rite Aid “knowingly and improperly” influenced the decisions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions by offering them gift cards.

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“This settlement holds Rite Aid accountable for exerting undue influence on individuals when they make important healthcare decisions about where and when to fill prescriptions,” said Stephanie Yonekura, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. “Corporate profit should never steer an individual away from making the right healthcare decision.”

Rite Aid denied the allegations. It issued a statement that said, “We have denied the government’s allegations and we are pleased to resolve the matter and avoid future litigation.”

The case stemmed from allegations made by pharmacist Jack Chin. The Justice Department said that as a whistleblower, Chin is entitled to $508,300 of the funds recovered from Rite Aid.

“Pharmacies are not allowed to improperly influence the decision-making of Medicare and Medicaid patients about where to fill prescriptions,” said Glenn R. Ferry, special agent in charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Pharmacy chains that manipulate patient choices in this way will be held accountable.”