Headlines that Matter for Companies and Executives in Regulated Industries
Government Shutdown Watch
The Administrative Office of the US Courts announced on Tuesday that after February 1, 2019, federal courts will be unable to sustain funded operations. This is the third extension that the AO has announced. The AO estimates that it can sustain funded operations through January 31, 2019, but no further extensions will be possible.
If funding runs out before Congress enacts a continuing resolution or full-year funding, the Judiciary will operate under the terms of the Anti-Deficiency Act, and each court would determine the staff necessary to support mission critical work. Several courts are already operating under the Anti-Deficiency Act and have entered standing orders suspending all activities not excepted under the Act and reducing staff accordingly.
Meanwhile, the longest government shutdown in the history of our country continues with no end in sight. The Senate yesterday rejected competing bills to end the shutdown. Neither the Republican nor Democratic plan garnered the necessary 60 votes to move forward. However, some have suggested that the failure of the two bills will lead to renewed discussions of compromise.
Walgreens Settles FCA Suit for $269 Million
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. will pay $269 million to resolve two qui tam lawsuits brought by former Walgreens pharmacists. In one action, the pharmacists alleged that from 2006-2017, Walgreens engaged in a scheme involving under-reporting the number of days that an insulin pen can last, resulting in excessive dispensing of insulin pens and over-billing to Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs. The $209 million settlement in that case is the largest FCA settlement involving a retail pharmacy chain.
In the second action, Walgreens will pay $60 million to resolve claims involving the pharmacy’s failure to disclose Prescription Savings Club drug discounts, resulting in excessive Medicaid reimbursements.
See US ex rel. Rahimi et al. v. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., case number 15-cv-05686, and US ex rel. Baker v. Walgreens Inc., case number 1:12-cv-00300, both in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.