MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – A pharmacy chain in Wisconsin that has over 20 locations has agreed to pay over $2 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims for certain medications.
According to authorities, Hayat Pharmacy agreed to pay $2,050,000 to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for prescription medications. It was alleged that Hayat Pharmacy submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid in 2019 for two prescription medications.
The two medications were a topical cream consisting of iodoquinol, hydrocortisone and aloe and a multivitamin with the trade name Azesco.
Over the time frame of the allegations, Medicaid reportedly paid thousands of dollars per prescription for the cream and Medicare paid hundreds of dollars per prescription for Azesco. The allegations said that Hayat Pharmacy switched Medicaid and Medicare patients from lower-cost medications to the other two medications without any medical need and/or without a valid prescription.
In addition to paying over $2 million, Hayat Pharmacy reportedly agreed to conduct annual training concerning waste, fraud and abuse and compliance with rules concerning medication switches.
“Our watchdog agency will hold accountable pharmacies who try to boost their profits by billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary medications,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto, HHS-OIG, Chicago Region.
The investigation came from a whistleblower complaint filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
“The FBI prioritizes efforts to stop healthcare fraud and will continue to hold accountable pharmacies and other medical providers who misuse Medicare and Medicaid dollars. By requiring Hayat Pharmacy to repay over $2 million, this settlement underscores that healthcare providers cannot put their interests ahead of their patients or the taxpayers,” said James B. Hurley, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Milwaukee Field Office.
Hayat Pharmacy reportedly has 23 pharmacy locations in the greater Milwaukee Area.
The company says they disputed the allegations and agreed to settle the dispute to put the matter behind them.
“Hayat vigorously disputed the allegations made against our company. As a family-owned business, our mission is and always will be helping underserved populations in our community obtain proper health care.
We agreed to settle this dispute in order to put this matter behind us so it does not distract from that mission. We are eager to move forward and to continue serving our neighbors in the Milwaukee community.”Hayat Pharmacy