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Walgreens Pays $35 Million, Settles Pharmacist-Whistleblower Qui Tam Drug Switching Allegations
Date:6/4/2008

Third National Pharmacy Settles Drug Switching Allegations; $120 Million

Total Recovered For Federal and State Taxpayers

This complete Settlement News Release is available at

http://www.PharmacyFraudSettlement.com

CHICAGO, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Walgreens today became the third national pharmacy to settle drug switching allegations exposed by a whistleblowing veteran pharmacist whose actions have returned more than $120 million to federal and state governments. The cases against three of America's largest drug store chains were pursued by Chicago-based whistleblower attorneys Michael I. Behn and Linda Wyetzner under qui tam provisions of state and federal False Claims Acts.

Walgreens paid $35 million to 42 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to settle allegations it overcharged Medicaid by switching dosage forms in filling generic Prozac(R), Zantac(R) and Eldepryl(R) prescriptions, according to Behn.

Today's settlement resulted from a suit filed by Behn and Wyetzner in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. This is the third case their firm, Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered, has handled for pharmacist whistleblower Bernard Lisitza. Prior generic drug switching cases by Lisitza resulted in a $37 million settlement earlier this year with CVS Caremark Corp., owner of CVS pharmacies, and a $50 million settlement in late 2006 with Omnicare, Inc., the nation's largest pharmacy for nursing homes.

"Bernie wanted the government to know that the drug switching programs he observed were schemes to increase pharmacy profits at taxpayers' expense," Behn said. "As a professional who has filled prescriptions for decades, Bernie saw no medical benefit for the drug switching."

"The Walgreens settlement today, like CVS and Omnicare before it, shows how an alert, dedicated pharmacist whistleblower
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SOURCE PRforLAW, LLC
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