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Attorney General Xavier Becerra: Walgreens Settles $9.8 Million Whistleblower Case

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Public Encouraged To Report Elder Abuse and Medi-Cal Fraud to BMFEA’s Hotline (800) 722‑0432 or www.oag.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a $9.8 million settlement with Walgreens, one of the largest drugstore chains in the United States. The settlement involved allegations that Walgreens failed to adhere fully to requirements imposed by California law for the dispensing of certain prescriptions drugs under Medi‑Cal. The settlement is the result of lawsuits filed by whistleblowers and investigated and resolved by federal and state prosecutors. The lawsuits alleged that for more than five years, Walgreens falsely certified that it had complied with diagnosis-related requirements for the lawful dispensing of prescriptions to Medi‑Cal patients.

“Californians expect that pharmacies dispensing prescription drugs will do so in a safe and lawful manner,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It is a violation of the public trust when pharmacies seek payment from the Medi-Cal program while knowingly violating state law.”

Through the Bureau of Medi‑Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA), the Attorney General’s office regularly works with whistleblowers and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute fraud perpetrated on the Medi‑Cal program.  False claims lawsuits pursued by the Attorney General in the last two years have recovered tens of millions of dollars from some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies for allegations of improper marketing, falsifying reports to inflate prices, and other wrongful practices.   

Members of the public who have information concerning Medi‑Cal fraud or elder abuse in nursing homes or other residential care facilities are urged to call BMFEA’s hotline at (800) 722‑0432 or visit the Attorney General’s website at https://oag.ca.gov/ to file a complaint.

“I want to thank Deputy Attorneys General Bernice Yew and Emmanuel Salazar, Supervising Deputy Attorneys General Vincent DiCarlo and Nicholas Paul, Investigative Auditor Marilyn Meixner, and special agents and legal support staff of the Bureau of Medi‑Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse and the California Department of Health Care Services for their collaborative efforts to protect the people of our State in this case,” said Attorney General Becerra. Additionally, the BMFEA team worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California to investigate and settle these claims.  

The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

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