Agents raid compounding pharmacies in multi-state fraud investigation

Federal and state enforcement agents raided compounding pharmacies in four states as part of a healthcare fraud investigation, seizing more than $15 million in assets, according to various news reports.

The raid included nine pharmacies in Mississippi, and three others in Alabama, Florida and Utah. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics initiated the investigation, but the FBI served search warrants. Agents were seen taking boxes out of OpusRx Pharmacy, Rx Remedies, Medworx Compounding and Aspire Health Compounding, according to WAPT News.

None of the agencies involved in the raid would offer any additional information, although Don Alway, special agent in charge at the FBI's Jackson office, told The Clarion-Ledger that the agency had issued the search warrants in conjunction with state agencies "based on probable cause on information we've received from the public."

A spokesperson for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics told the newspaper that agents interviewed hundreds of people and seized $15 million in the form of 24 vehicles, five planes, two boats and money from 80 bank accounts.

Compounded pharmaceuticals have come under increased scrutiny over the last several years thanks to the high price tags that led some insurers to spend as much a $171 million in the first quarter of 2014, a 600 percent increase since 2012.  Last year, Tricare attributed a $300 million spike in monthly spending on prescription medications to compounded drugs such as pain and scar creams. In November, federal and state investigators hinted that they were targeting compounding pharmacies, which led four Florida companies to pay a combined $12.8 million in settlements.

To learn more:
- read the WAPT News report
- here's The Clarion-Ledger article

Related Articles:
$300M spike in TRICARE monthly spending linked to compounded drugs
Pricey compounded drugs come under scrutiny
Feds target compounding pharmacies as Tricare spending spikes

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