Omnicare to settle whistle-blower suit

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Long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare settled another lawsuit Friday, this one over a whistle-blower complaint regarding millions in a kickback.

Omnicare agreed to settle over claims it provided a kickback when it bought Total Pharmacy services LLC in 2004, and that it submitted false claims, the Chicago Tribune reported. Terms were not disclosed Friday, and the U.S. District Judge set a hearing for Sept. 25.

In 2007, Maureen Nehls filed a whistle-blower lawsuit saying that Omnicare's $25 million price tag for Total Pharmacy Services included payment to one of its owners in exchange for contracts with nursing homes.  Phillip Esformes and his father, Morris Esformes, are Chicago nursing home operators and are not part of the settlement, the Tribune reported, and they will continue to fight the allegations in federal court.

While Omnicare declined to comment to media Friday, the company has previously denied the allegations, the Tribune said.

The pharmacy company agreed to pay $50 million to the Department of Justice in May over charges it was responsible for residents receiving medications without a prescription or documentation. It agreed to pay $21 million in 2010 over allegations it overcharged Medicaid. In 2009, it settled a lawsuit over allegations it was involved in a kickback scheme with several parties, including drug manufacturer IVAX, for $98 million.

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