Texas-based long-term care pharmacy provider AlixaRx will pay $2.75 million to settle allegations that it wrongly dispensed controlled substances without valid prescriptions at long-term care facilities.
AlixaRx contested the allegations and said it has not agreed to any liability, despite agreeing to make the settlement, which it called a “business decision.”
“AlixaRx is satisfied with the conclusion of this matter and continues to require its pharmacies to comply with all relevant laws and regulations in an industry highly regulated by the [Food and Drug Administration], [Drug Enforcement Agency], state Boards of Pharmacy, and other regulatory authorities,” the company said in a statement.
“Ethics and integrity are core principles to which the Company is committed as we carry out our mission of providing highly innovative, automated pharmacy services that improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies,” it added.
The Department of Justice accused the provider of engaging in what it called “unlawful dispensing practices” between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 13, 2017. During that time period, the agency said the company routinely abused the emergency prescription provision of the Controlled Substance Act by requesting and obtaining verbal emergency refills from prescribers when there was no true emergency.
“Instead, the company used these purported emergency prescriptions to effectuate simple refills of the patients’ medications. Moreover, AlixaRx routinely failed to obtain written prescriptions within seven days after the verbal authorization,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia stated.
“Rather than disclose these violations to the DEA as required by law, AlixaRx engaged in a nationwide scheme to cover up its violations by obtaining backdated prescriptions from the prescribing physicians, in many cases over a year after the controlled substances were dispensed,” the agency claimed.
AlixaRX also allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare for the invalid emergency prescriptions, according to the agency.