Pharmacist must repay Medicaid $1 million

March 13, 2014

After pleading guilty to unlawful importation of drugs, a San Diego pharmacist has been ordered to repay Medicare $1 million.William Burdine, 65, owner of the Alvarado Medical Plaza Pharmacy in San Diego, was also sentenced to eight months of home confinement, 240 hours of community service, five years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

After pleading guilty to unlawful importation of drugs, a San Diego pharmacist has been ordered to repay Medicare $1 million.

William Burdine, 65, owner of the Alvarado Medical Plaza Pharmacy in San Diego, was also sentenced to eight months of home confinement, 240 hours of community service, five years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

He was accused of filling cancer prescriptions with drugs illegally purchased from Canada. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Burdine ordered drugs such as bevacizumab (Avastin) and rituximab (Rituxin) from Quality Specialty Products of Canada and used them to mix infusion solutions “without advising the doctors that the drugs came from abroad and were not approved for use in the United States.”

Medicare reimbursed some of the costs because it covered some of the patients. The federal prosecutor said the pharmacy admitted that by causing doctors to falsely claim that the drugs were approved by the FDA for use on patients in the United States, Medicare was fraudulently overbilled at least $1,004,284.04 between May 2010 and June 2011.

 

 

California’s pharmacy board is also investigating.

“If it happens once, it’s too much. We will discipline any case where we learn this is happening,” Virginia Herold, executive officer of the state Board of Pharmacy, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Patients could end up getting a counterfeit drug or a drug that’s not what it’s labeled as.”