From APhA’s Pharmacy Today, July 14: More than 400 people have been charged in the largest-ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, announced on July 13. The individuals — including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other licensed medical professionals — are suspected of participating in health care fraud schemes involving about $1.3 billion in false billings.
The charges aggressively target schemes billing Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications that frequently were never even purchased and/or distributed to beneficiaries. Additionally, the charges involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, especially medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics. HHS Secretary Price said, "Health care fraud is not only a criminal act that costs billions of taxpayer dollars—it is an affront to all Americans who rely on our national health care programs for access to critical health care services and a violation of trust. ... The historic results of this year's national takedown represent significant progress toward protecting the integrity and sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid, which we will continue to build upon in the years to come."