Florida-Based Compounding Pharmacy Violated False Claims Act by Overcharging Tricare, Feds Claim
Friday, July 14, 2017
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On July 3, 2017, a compounding pharmacy based in Tampa, Florida, charged Tricare at least 2,000 percent more for drugs than it charged cash payers, according to the government. The government claimed that the Florida pharmacy acted in violation of the False Claims Act (FCA), as it intervened in a whistleblower’s suit.The government claimed that RS Compounding LLC and its owner, Renier Gobea, knew it was illegal to provide discounts to cash payers but not the government. However, the company still went through with a scheme to do it, the partial-intervention complaint says. Prosecutors are seeking triple damages and civil penalties.The False Claims Act provisions in Tricare cases are a little different from those in Medicare cases. In Tricare cases, recovery can be had for any "fraud, waste or abuse." It is not limited to just fraud or false claims. Abusive claims can lead to recoveries by the government and by whistle blowers.The Whistleblower Suit. The suit was brought forward by former sales representative McKenzie Stepe. She filed her whistleblower suit in December 2013. Stepe’s suit alleges that RS Compounding used the average wholesale price in place of the lower acquisition cost when reporting what it paid for drugs. Additionally, the company then reported the usual and customary cost of the compounded drug to be equal to the average wholesale price, and as a result the government paid more for the drug that it needed to when reimbursing RS Compounding, the complaint says. Between January 1, 2012, and January 31, 2014, the company was charging cash customers less without telling the government, according to the complaint. Click here to read the complaint in full. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a Florida pharmacy has allegedly defrauded government programs such as Tricare through compounding activities. The Tricare program is a health care program that provides benefits for U.S. military personnel, their defendants and retired military personnel.Click here to read one of my prior blogs on a similar case against Tricare. Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Pharmacies and Pharmacists.The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists and pharmacies in DEA, DOH and FDA investigations, qui tam and whistleblower cases, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, administrative hearings, inspections and audits. The firm’s attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.Sources:Kass, Dani. “Fla. Compounding Pharmacy Ripped Off Tricare, Feds Claim.” Law360. (July 3, 2017). Web.“Florida Compounding Pharmacy Ripped Off Tricare.” Law of Compounding Medication. (July 4, 2017). Web.About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.KeyWords: False Claims Act defense attorney, FCA legal counsel, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) defense attorney, legal representation for allegations of violating Anti-Kickback Statute, TRICARE false claims legal defense attorney, TRICARE physician representation, legal representation violating False Claims Act, pharmaceutical fraud lawyer, compounding pharmacy attorney, fraudulent practices of pharmaceutical companies, whistle blower lawyer, FCA violations, fraud detection, financial interest in physician referrals, TRICARE fraud attorney, health attorney, defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, health law firm, fraud investigations, consumer reports of health care fraud, conflict of interest in physician referrals, compound medication prescriptions, compounding pharmacy lawyer, prescription reimbursement, legal defense of military physicians, legal defense of TRICARE providers, attorney reviews of The Health Law Firm, Veterans Administration (VA) physician defense attorney, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
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