Pharmaceutical company to pay $1 million to settle claims on switching drugs

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The Maine subsidiary of Omnicare Pharmacy, a Fortune 500 company, agreed to pay $1 million to settle claims that it switched nursing home patients' prescriptions to a medication that would be more profitable for the company.

Omnicare provides medication for about 7,000 nursing home patients in Maine. The company is accused of creating fake prescriptions to switch patients' heartburn medicine, which meant that the state's Medicaid program paid $82 per month per patient instead of $15.

Patients were switched from tablet form of ranitidine, a generic heartburn medication, to the capsule form. Experts say the two different forms are not therapeutically equivalent.

The company denies the claims but said it settled the charges to avoid extraneous litigation costs.

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