A number of health insurance companies, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield units are suing Walgreens, alleging that the company has been engaged in a fraudulent scheme to overcharge for prescription drugs by submitting claims for payment at inflated prices and made false statements to conceal the scheme.
Walgreens has overcharged the plaintiffs hundreds of millions of dollars, the plaintiffs said in a Tuesday complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
According to the suit, Walgreens created a program under which it submitted usual and customary prices to the insurance companies that were “five, ten, or twenty times higher” than what cash customers paid.
Walgreens knowingly and wrongfully overcharged the insurance companies by submitting false and inflated usual and customary prices to the plaintiffs, the complaint says.
It also intentionally concealed from the companies the actual cash prices offered to members of the general public by making false statements and omitting material facts, the complaint says.
We want to stress that, like anyone who is sued in court, those who are suing have to prove their case and the fact that there is a lawsuit doesn’t mean the things they are charging are true.
But with so many Americans struggling to pay for the drugs they need, and with legislation to lower drug prices held up in Congress, it is troubling to hear about this. Like so many cases involving large corporations, this case is likely to go on for a very long time and could eventually be settled out of court.
However, it reinforces our belief that Congress needs to act to lower drug prices, and reinforces our determination to fight as hard as we can to make that happen.