AG Balderas Announces Settlement of over $200 million with Walgreens over Fraudulent over-dispensing of Insulin pens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24th, 2019

Contact: David Carl (505) 288-2465

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced a settlement of $209.2
million dollars against Walgreens over their fraudulent dispensing of insulin pens around the
nation. New Mexico is joined by the United States, the District of Columbia, and all other 49
states in settling allegations against Walgreens Boots Alliance (Walgreens). The agreement in
principle resolves allegations that Walgreens knowingly engaged in fraudulent over-dispensing
of insulin pens to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Walgreens operates the largest retail
pharmacy chain in the U.S., with 8,309 locations across all 50 states.
“Out-of-state multi-billion dollar corporations must not be allowed to take advantage of New
Mexican families,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “My Medicaid Fraud division is
dedicated to fighting for New Mexicans, and we will not rest as the most vulnerable New
Mexicans are faced with unfair attacks from all sides.”
Because of this settlement, Walgreens admitted to programming its computer system to define a
full box of five insulin pens as the minimum dispensing package size. This definition prevented
Walgreens pharmacists from being able to dispense fewer than five pens even though a patient’s
prescription called for less pens than a box of five. Thus, Walgreens repeatedly reported
information to state Medicaid programs different from, and lower than, the correctly calculated
supply according to standard pharmacy practice, and as required by state pharmacy laws. This
resulted in state Medicaid programs paying for a substantial number of claims that the programs
would not have approved if Walgreens had reported the correct supply of medication based on
the prescription.
The settlement resolves allegations that from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2017, rather
than dispensing the quantity of insulin called for by a patient’s prescription, Walgreens exceeded
the prescription amount and falsified information on claims submitted for reimbursement to
Medicare and Medicaid, including the quantity of insulin and/or days’ supply dispensed.
Under the settlement, Walgreens will pay the United States and the States $209.2 million dollars
under the settlement. Of this amount, $89,185,625.10 will go to the state Medicaid programs to
resolve civil allegations that Walgreens’ unlawful over-dispensing of insulin pens caused false
claims to be submitted to the Medicaid health care programs. As part of the settlement, New
Mexico will receive $840,000 in restitution and other recovery.