Rite Aid Corporation, a Delaware corporation and national retail drugstore chain with its principal place of business in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, has paid the United States $2.99 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by inappropriately using gift cards as inducements, the Department of Justice announced today.
The settlement resolves allegations that Rite Aid offered illegal inducements to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to Rite Aid pharmacies. The government alleged that from 2008 to 2010, Rite Aid had knowingly and improperly influenced the decisions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to Rite Aid pharmacies by offering them gift cards in exchange for their business.
“This case demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to enforcing accountability, transparency and fairness in the retail pharmacy industry,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Civil Division. “The government will continue to advocate for the best interests of Medicare and Medicaid patients, and prevent pharmacies from improperly manipulating their healthcare choices.”
“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 Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura for the Central District of California. “Corporate profit should never steer an individual away from making the right healthcare decision.”
“Pharmacies are not allowed to improperly influence the decision-making of Medicare and Medicaid patients about where to fill prescriptions,” said Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “Pharmacy chains that manipulate patient choices in this way will be held accountable.”