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Glades Drugs, Inc., a pharmacy located in Palm Beach County, Florida has agreed to pay the United States $300,000, to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by waiving or failing to collect required copayments from Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries.
Benjamin Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Shimon R. Richmond, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), made the announcement.
The allegations arose from a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower, Elvens Vertus, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens can bring suit on behalf of the government for false claims and share in any recovery. Relator Vertus is a licensed pharmacy technician who worked at Glades Drugs in 2014 and 2015. As set forth in the settlement agreement between the parties, the United States alleged that between July 2014 and May 2015, Glades Drugs waived or failed to collect required copayments from beneficiaries to induce beneficiaries to accept prescription medications that generated reimbursements from Medicare and TRICARE.
The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, HHS-OIG, and DCIS. The case was investigated and the settlement negotiated by Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Spaccarotella and HHS-OIG Senior Counsel Felicia Heimer.
The case is captioned United States of America ex. rel. Elvens Vertus v. Glades Drugs, Inc., et al., Case No. 15-CV-81627 (S.D. Fla.), and was before The Honorable Donald M. Middlebrooks. The claims settled by the lawsuit are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.