Omnicare Cheated U.S., Illinois, Ex-Pharmacist Claims in Lawsuit

Omnicare Inc. was accused in a lawsuit by a former company pharmacist of overbilling the U.S. and Illinois governments for drugs it supplied to nursing homes,

The pharmacist, Peter Ordeanu, alleged in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Chicago that he and others at the company were required to enter false billing information that caused the state and federal governments to pay for medications that were more costly than those actually being dispensed.

“Omnicare regularly overcharged the government,” he alleged, by compelling pharmacists to enter incorrect National Drug Codes, the product identifiers assigned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to all commercially distributed pharmaceuticals.

The government may have suffered millions of dollars of damages from that conduct at a Des Plaines, Illinois, distribution facility operated by Covington, Kentucky-based Omnicare, Ordeanu said. Omnicare is the biggest U.S. provider of pharmaceuticals to nursing homes.

Patrick Lee, Omnicare’s vice president for investor relations, didn’t immediately respond yesterday to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit after regular business hours. Jamie Moser, an outside spokeswoman with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher in New York, also didn’t immediately reply to e-mail and phone messages seeking comment after regular business hours yesterday.

Ordeanu also claims his employment was wrongfully terminated in January 2011 in violation of federal age discrimination laws. Ordeanu also alleges his firing was in retaliation for disclosing the company’s illegal activities to his Omnicare supervisors, managers and directors.

He had worked for the company since February 2008, when Des Plaines-based Enloe Drugs LLC, then his employer, was acquired by Omnicare.

The case is United States of America ex rel. Ordeanu v. Omnicare Inc., 12-cv-184, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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