Walgreens has agreed to pay more than $269 million to settle federal and state lawsuits that accused it of over billing federal health-care programs. Two separate settlements involving Walgreens, approved last week by U.S. District Court judges in Manhattan, were unsealed Tuesday, according to the U.S. Justice Department. U.S. officials said the company accepted responsibility for conduct the government alleged in complaints under the False Claims Act. In the first settlement, Walgreens agreed to pay $209.2 million to the U.S. and several state governments for improperly billing Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health-care programs for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens it dispensed to program beneficiaries who didn’t need them, according to U.S. officials. Federal prosecutors said Walgreens configured its electronic pharmacy management system to prevent its pharmacists from dispensing less than a full box of five insulin pens, even when patients didn’t need that much.
This case includes elements of the Pharmaceutical Industry and the role of Whistleblowers from our week’s themes and readings. Walgreens defines its code of ethics by its four-way test established by founder Charles R. Walgreen Jr. The link below directs you to Walgreen’s website with its code reviewed and explained. For this discussion:
1. Read and analyze the Walgreen’s code of ethics.
2. Read the articles below and other reliable internet sources for information on the Walgreen over billing lawsuit.
3. Address the following questions in your Weekly LA Discussion posts.
• What elements of Walgreen’s code of ethics were violated in their billing actions?
• What would founder Charles R. Walgreen Jr say, or what would he have done in this situation to meet its four-way test?
• How do or don’t company’s codes of ethics provide guidance to employees and other stakeholders?
• Given the week’s study of whistleblowing, what factors would have contributed to the settlement received by the whistleblowers?
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