A Sarasota pharmacy and its owners are out at least $775,000 to settle a federal lawsuit.
The pharmacy is AgeVital.
Most whistleblower cases come from a corporate insider or an executive.
Not this one.
“It was a patient looking at a bill, getting medication he knew he didn’t ask for, and actually have the courage to do something about it,” said Jesse Hoyer, an attorney on the case.
The slip and fall patient complained he received two shipments of pain meds and scar cream .
“On the third delivery, [he] actually called the company, said ‘stop sending these things to me.’ And instead of saying ‘okay,’ they pushed back on him, so he did something about it,” said Hoyer.
The feds maintain AgeVital’s owners received Medicare payments of more than $37,000 for meds the patient didn’t need or want.
“They made a killing sending these unsolicited medications to Medicaid, Medicare patients. It was a company built purely on a profit model. They weren’t trying to help patients,” said Hoyer.
AgeVital owner, Dr. Jenny Wilkins, is a well-known member of the community who has appeared on News Channel 8’s “Daytime” program.
She said she agreed to pay more than three-fourths of a million dollars at the advice of her attorney, who warned the feds could go after much more.
“This attack is a perfect example of the politics involved with big government, the insurance companies and jealous big pharmaceutical wanting to eliminate the private pharmacy sector,” said Dr. Wilkins.
She insists no laws were broken.
“No kickbacks from third parties. Nothing.”
Hoyer says this case started with a patient that believed the taxpayers were being cheated.
“You have the power to stop this fraud,” she said.
AgeVital’s owner maintains this case should have been between the patient and his doctor, not the pharmacy.