Walgreens settles comp drug pricing dispute with Massachusetts

Walgreens Co. has agreed to pay $5.5 million after allegedly overcharging for prescription drugs covered by Massachusetts’ workers compensation insurance system.

The settlement, filed in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Thursday, resolves allegations that between 2008 and 2017, Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens violated state consumer protection laws by overcharging for worker injury-related prescriptions under the Massachusetts workers comp system at its pharmacies in Boston, New Bedford, Springfield, Worcester and other areas, according to a statement by Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday.

“Our office found that over many years, Walgreens overcharged workers for various legitimate prescriptions,” she said in the statement. “This settlement ensures that Walgreens does not profit from those transactions and will help our state’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.”

According to a Workers Compensation Research Institute study, 89% of the prescriptions paid for under the workers comp system in Massachusetts are for pain medications, and 73% of those were opioids.

The settlement also requires Walgreens to implement procedures that will prevent future overcharges on opioids and other drugs under the workers comp system and requires that Walgreens’ future sales be subject to audit review by the attorney general’s office, according to the statement.

“We are pleased to have reached a resolution of this matter, in which we did not admit any wrongdoing,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to providing quality care to all patients, including those who have been injured on the job and are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.”

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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