Court's decision gives Omnicare a win, end to 8 years of litigation in whistleblower case

Long-term care pharmacy provider Omnicare has been let off the hook in a whistleblower case spanning eight years, thanks to a court's ruling last week.

The complaint against the pharmacy giant, brought by one of its former collections employees, claimed Omnicare caused several nursing homes to file false Medicare and Medicaid claims by forgiving past-due bills from the facilities. In an unpublished opinion filed Oct. 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a pretrial win for Omnicare.

The pharmacy's choice to forgive the past-due bills wasn't specifically designed to induce referrals, the court said, even if Omnicare may have hoped they would. The court's decision that a company which simply hopes for referrals after it grants benefits may “provide an out for other [Anti-Kickback Statute] defendants who engage in fee-forgiveness practices,” Bloomberg BNA reported.

Omnicare, which is now owned by CVS, recently agreed to pay $28 million to settle drug-related kickback allegations in another case.