A pharmacist has admitted he re-labelled generic drugs as name brand medications and then sold them as if they were the more expensive drugs
A US pharmacist has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, misbranding of drugs and healthcare fraud conspiracy.
The 46-year-old pharmacist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania owned four pharmacies in the state.
From November 2018 to February 2019, he admitted he “knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully” obtained oxycodone and hydrocodone by misrepresentations, fraud and deception.
The pharmacist admitted he did not place the controlled substances into the inventories of the four pharmacies and did not maintain records to show the controlled substances were dispensed.
In addition, he re-labelled generic drugs as name brand medications and then sold them as if they were the more expensive drugs.
The pharmacist admitted filling prescriptions with generic drugs, but billing US healthcare insurance programs for the more expensive name brand drugs.
This constituted healthcare fraud and caused a loss to Medicare and Medicaid of approximately US$680,000 (AU$939,179), according to the Department of Justice US Attorney’s Office.
“[The pharmacist] ordered opioids without adding them to inventory, mis-labelled generic drugs as name-brand medications, and billed Medicare and Medicaid for name-brand drugs when he provided generics, all in violation of federal law,” said Acting US Attorney Kaufman.
“We will continue to pursue medical professionals who engage in fraud schemes to enrich themselves at the expense of their patients.”
Consumers rely on healthcare professionals to follow government requirements pertaining to prescription medications, said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office.
“We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who threaten the safety of the nation’s drug supply and, ultimately, the patients who take those drugs,” he said.
The pharmacist will be sentenced in February. He faces up prison time of up to 17 years and fines totalling up to $750,000.