Walgreens To Pay $7.9 Million To Make Prescriptions Controversy Go Away

Walgreens owes a pretty penny to the U.S. Department of Justice, specifically, $7.9 million to make a little prescription controversy to go away. The government said Walgreens illegally tried to get federal health care beneficiaries to switch their prescriptions to Walgreens pharmacies.

Retail pharmacies aren’t supposed to go around trying win business from people who have prescriptions that are funded by the government, says the Associated Press (via the Chicago Tribune). The DOJ says Walgreens offered inducements like gift cards to people on programs like Medicare to switch over to Walgreens.

Although Walgreens had disclaimers in its ads that the offers of rewards for switching their prescriptions to one of its pharmacies didn’t include government programs, the DOJ says the company often ignored that and handed out gift cards willy nilly to anyone.

The whistle was blown on Walgreens by a former pharmacy technician it had employed and an independent pharmacist who sued the company. They’ll get $1.3 million of the settlement money.

Walgreens to pay $7.9 million to Justice Department [Associated Press]