Long-term care pharmacy services provider Omnicare and parent company CVS Health plan to “vigorously” challenge a federal lawsuit accusing it of fraudulently billing United States healthcare programs for invalid drug prescriptions. 

CVS Health in a statement Tuesday said there’s no “merit to these claims and we intend to vigorously defend the matter in court.” 

“We are confident that Omnicare’s dispensing practices will be found to be consistent with state requirements and industry-accepted practices,” the company added. 

The Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York disclosed the filing Tuesday. The federal government is alleging that between 2010 and 2018, Omnicare failed to obtain new prescriptions from patients’ doctors after old ones expired or ran out of refills. The company instead assigned a new number to the old prescription and continued to dispense drugs for months and sometimes years. 

The federal government is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act for the alleged fraud scheme. The government “has sustained damages in a substantial amount to be determined at trial,” the complaint stated. 

Omnicare operates 160 pharmacies across 47 states and dispenses “tens of millions of prescriptions” for more than 1 million elderly and disabled long-term care facility residents each year, documents stated.