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Press Release

Rite Aid Corporation and Elixir Insurance Company Agree to Pay $101M to Resolve Allegations of Falsely Reporting Rebates

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that Rite Aid Corporation and Rite Aid subsidiaries, Elixir Insurance Company, RX Options LLC and RX Solutions LLC, have agreed to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by failing to accurately report drug rebates to the Medicare Program. As part of the settlement, Elixir Insurance and Rite Aid will pay the United States $101 million, and RX Options and RX Solutions will grant the United States an allowed, unsubordinated, general unsecured claim for a total of $20 million in Rite Aid’s bankruptcy case pending in the District of New Jersey. The settlement is based on the companies’ ability to pay and was approved on June 28 by the bankruptcy court as part of Rite Aid’s plan of reorganization, which is expected to become effective later this summer. In addition to operating one of the country’s largest retail pharmacy chains, Rite Aid offered Medicare drug plans and pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) services through Elixir Insurance, RX Options and RX Solutions.  

“Participants in Medicare’s drug program must accurately report price concessions, including drug manufacturer rebates, to ensure that the government receives the benefit of those concessions,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement reflects the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable entities that pursue their own financial interests at the expense of taxpayer programs.”

“Rite Aid and its Elixir subsidiaries lined their corporate pockets with millions of dollars of manufacturer rebates that should have been reported to Medicare,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “Each of those dollars could have been used to benefit Americans with genuine health care needs. Our office will not tolerate deceptive health-insurance practices, and we will vigorously pursue those who violate the FCA.”

Under Medicare Part D, private entities known as Part D Plan Sponsors offer and administer insurance plans that provide prescription drug coverage to enrolled Medicare beneficiaries. Part D Sponsors must submit annual reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with information about rebates and other remuneration the Plans received from drug manufacturers in connection with the Part D drugs provided to beneficiaries, which ensures that the government receives the benefit of any price concessions provided by drug manufacturers to purchasers of the drugs covered under the Part D plan. CMS relies on the reports in the annual reconciliation process that determines payments due to the Plans or CMS at the end of the year.

The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2014 and 2020, the defendants improperly reported to CMS portions of rebates received from manufacturers as bona fide service fees, even though manufacturers did not negotiate with the defendants to pay such fees. The United States further alleged that Elixir Insurance knew the retained rebates did not meet the regulatory definition of bona fide services fees.

“Truthful and accurate documentation in the delivery of health care goods or services is crucial to the integrity of federal health care programs,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “Improper submission of manufacturer drug rebates and fees by Part D Plan Sponsors for pharmaceutical products in order to make more money will not be tolerated. Collaborating with our law enforcement partners, HHS-OIG is committed to preventing and investigating health care fraud in Medicare and other taxpayer-funded health care programs.”

The civil settlement includes the resolution of claims brought in 2021 under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act by Glenn Rzeszutko, who previously worked for RX Options. The FCA authorizes a private party to sue on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Rzeszutko v. Rite Aid Corporation et al., No. 5:21-CV-574 (N.D. Ohio). The relator’s share of these proceeds has not yet been determined.

The Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio handled this matter, with substantial assistance from HHS-OIG and FBI Cleveland Division.

Trial attorneys Christopher Wilson and Dan Schiffer of the Civil Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jackson Froliklong for the Northern District of Ohio handled this matter. HHS-OIG and the FBI Cleveland Field Office provided substantial assistance in the investigation. Assistant Director Mary Schmergel and Trial Attorneys Gregory Werkheiser and Ryan Lamb of the Civil Division’s Corporate/Financial Litigation Section are handling the Rite Aid bankruptcy.

Today’s settlements illustrate the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the FCA. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement can be reported to HHS at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

The claims asserted against defendants are allegations only. There has been no determination of liability.

Updated July 10, 2024

False Claims Act
Press Release Number: 24-859