Pharmacy agrees to $2 million payment but denies allegations

January 31, 2022 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Federal authorities said Monday that a Milwaukee pharmacy has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle allegations it submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for prescription drugs, a charge the company denies.

Hayat Pharmacy operates 23 centers in the greater Milwaukee area. Prosecutors said the company switched Medicare and Medicaid patients to lower-cost medications on two drugs without medical need or without valid prescriptions.

Hayat Pharmacy said in a statement that it “vigorously disputes” the allegations and settled in order to move forward with its mission to help “underserved populations in our community obtain proper health care.”

In addition to the financial settlement, the pharmacy agreed to conduct annual training concerning waste, fraud and abuse, and compliance with rules concerning medication switches, according to prosecutors.

The government’s investigation resulted from a whistleblower complaint filed under certain provisions of the False Claims Act. The whistleblower will receive a share of the settlement.

“Medicare and Medicaid only pay for prescription medications that are needed by patients, not prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies simply to increase their profits,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Frohling of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.