A similar case, involving another pharmacy corporation, was settled for $49.5 million in 2006. The cases have in common a pharmacist who noticed something amiss, contacted an attorney and the rest is history.
“[A national pharmacy chain agreed] to pay $36.7 million to settle charges it routinely overbilled Medicaid for a popular generic antacid drug, cheating federal and state governments out of millions of dollars over more than six years. Prosecutors say the pharmacy chain illegally substituted a more expensive capsule form of the drug instead of the prescribed tablets to increase its Medicaid reimbursement.”
All hail this crusading whistle-blower -- an unadulterated hero!
Hmm, not so fast.
Consider that the law provides him with a share of the settlements -- in his case, more than $10 million. Consider that he himself was arrested in 1992 as part of another Medicaid-fraud scheme, the FBI’s Operation Goldpill. He was sentenced with a fine, probation, and temporary suspension of his pharmacist license.
In a novel, would readers still view his whistle-blowing as altruistic? Or as greed? Or as paying a debt to society? It’s a tough call … it’s known as complex characterization.