Ohio gets nearly $7 million in settlement from Walgreens

The Columbus Dispatch | Marty Schladen

Ohio is recovering almost $7 million from two actions that authorities are labeling prescription-drug scams, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Thursday. Authorities were alerted to both by whistle-blower suits.

In one, drug retailer Walgreens programmed its computers so it would over-dispense insulin to participants in Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor, and Medicare, the federal program for the elderly.

“Walgreens admitted to programming its computer system to define a full box of five insulin pens as the minimum dispensing package size,” Yost’s office said in a written statement. “This definition prevented Walgreens pharmacists from being able to dispense fewer than five pens even though a patient’s prescription called for fewer pens than a box of five.”

In the other purported scam, Walgreens was accused of submitting $60 million more in claims to state Medicaid programs than it was entitled to under Medicaid rules.

Ohio’s portion of the settlements was part of $117 million paid to state Medicaid programs and a portion of $269 million Walgreens paid overall.

As state auditor and now as attorney general, Yost has said he would focus on why the cost to taxpayers of prescription drugs keeps rising.

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