How Drug Companies Bilked the Government by Selling Vitamins as Prescription Drugs

Twenty-three drug companies have been accused of inventing fraudulent approval codes for unapproved drugs, vitamins and popsicles in order to obtain millions of dollars in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

Drug company Abbott, for example, is alleged to have defrauded the U.S. the government for $3.3 million by pretending that its Pedialyte popsicles were prescription drugs. The case reveals how imperative it is for the federal government to police drug companies that claim reimbursement for their products.

BNet reports:

"The scam was a simple one ... In order to get Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, a drug must have a National Drug Code (NDC) number and an FDA approval date ... So Abbott and others simply made up NDC numbers and dates. The government failed to check the data and paid the claims. Abbott received nearly $50 million by pretending that vitamins and popsicles were prescription drugs, the suit claims".

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