Berger & Montague, P.C. announced today the settlement of a
False Claims Act case against Walgreen Co. (Walgreens)
for $9.86 million to resolve
allegations that Walgreens falsely billed California's Medicaid Program,
Medi-Cal. The settlement resolves allegations raised in two
whistleblower lawsuits brought under the qui tam
provisions of the False Claims Act. Berger & Montague
represented former Walgreens pharmacy technician, Debbie G. Rinehart, who was one of the two
individuals to report the fraud.
Berger & Montague shareholder Joy Clairmont commented, "Our
whistleblower client, a former pharmacy technician who worked at
Walgreens for nine years, was also a Medi-Cal beneficiary for a
time. As such, she intimately understands the need for
integrity in the Medi-Cal Program, and is satisfied to have helped
contribute as a relator to this successful resolution."
In 2014, Ms. Rinehart filed her suit under seal pursuant to the
provisions of the Federal False Claims Act and California False
Claims Act. The lawsuit alleged that Walgreens improperly
billed Medi-Cal for certain prescription drugs, "Code 1" drugs,
appearing on Medi-Cal's formulary list. As alleged, Walgreens
knowingly failed to comply with applicable "Code 1" drug
restrictions and documentation requirements by failing to ensure
that the drugs were prescribed for the requisite diagnoses prior to
dispensing the drugs to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The United States and the State of California intervened in the
action for settlement.
Dan Miller, the co-chair of
Berger & Montague's Qui Tam Practice Group,
commended the government's investigation and resolution of the
case: "We applaud the outstanding efforts of Assistant United
States Attorney Catherine J.
Swann and her colleagues at the U.S. Attorney's Office
in Sacramento as well
as California's Bureau of
Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse who assisted in achieving this
The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Debbie G. Rinehart v. Walgreen
Co., Case No. 2:14-cv-0148 (E.D. Cal.).