One of the many ways that patients are at the mercy of their health care providers and insurers is through pharmaceuticals and prescriptions. Doctors write specific prescriptions, sometimes based on pharmaceutical advertisements, that may require that patients receive name brand drugs. Insurers place limitations on the types of drugs that insureds can access. Another way that insurers and pharmaceutical companies have been limiting patient options is by engaging in health care fraud in order to increase profits at the expense of patient choice. Luckily, False Claims Act lawsuits have exposed pharmaceutical fraud, and actions have been taken against some major perpetrators.
Medco Fraud Settlement
According to the Corporate Crime Reporter, former AstraZeneca employees filed a qui tam lawsuit against AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and Medco, a company that manages pharmacy benefits. The lawsuit alleged that Medco and AstraZeneca entered into hidden financial agreements based on which Medco received lower prices on three AstraZeneca drugs in exchange for including one of AstraZeneca’s medications as the only one of its kind on some of Medco’s list of covered prescriptions.