Medicare regulations require long-term care nursing facilities to contract with a consultant pharmacist to review the propriety of resident medications on a monthly basis. Given their ability to make drug recommendations, the consultant pharmacists employed by large nursing home pharmacies are easy kickback targets for dishonest pharmaceutical companies. Indeed, there are several recent examples where consultant pharmacists have allegedly tried to leverage their pivotal position to reap millions of dollars in personal gain.
In October 2015, the nation’s second largest nursing home pharmacy, PharMerica, agreed to pay $9.25 million to quiet allegations that it sought and receive kickbacks from pharmaceutical manufacturer Abbott Laboratories in exchange for its consultant pharmacists promoting the prescription drug Depakote for nursing home patients. In this case, the government alleged that the kickbacks were disguised as rebates, educational grants and other financial support.
In other cases, large nursing home pharmacies have allegedly peddled the loyalty of their consultant pharmacists to pharmaceutical companies. Of particular note, in 2012 Abbott Laboratories paid $1.5 billion to resolve civil and criminal liability based on allegations that it paid kickbacks to several large nursing home pharmacies, including PharMerica.
More information for Medicare fraud whistleblowers is located at the Nolan Auerbach & White website.