The District Sentinel reported on the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement with OmniCare, Inc. which is the nation’s largest nursing home pharmacy making billions a year. OmniCare will pay $28 million for its role in a massive kickback scheme perpetrated by drug manufacturer Abbott Laboratories dating back six years.
“Omnicare solicited and received kickbacks from Abbott in exchange for recommending that physicians prescribe Depakote, an anti-epileptic drug manufactured by Abbott, to elderly nursing home residents,” The DOJ detailed in a press release.
Omnicare Inc. was caught accepting direct payments, lavish vacations, and sports tickets from Abbott often times disguised as “grants” or “educational funding.” The drug manufacturer also financed Omnicare’s management meetings on Amelia Island, Fla. Abbott also gifted sporting event tickets to Omnicare executives.
Abbott Laboratories had already agreed to pay $1.5 billion in 2012 to settle civil and criminal charges stemming from its kickback operations with several pharmacies. The allegations against Abbott Laboratories were first lodged by former employees at the company, Richard Spetter and Meredith McCoyd. Since the prior lawsuits were filed under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, McCoyd will receive $3 million from the federal share of the settlement with Omnicare.
“It is disturbing that any health care corporation would pay kickbacks that corrupt the professional medical decision making process in order to pad their profits,” said Nicholas DiGiulio, the Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG).
This is not the first time OmniCare was involved in a kickback scheme. See prior blog here.