The Pharmaceutical Overstep

Even though human beings are by far the smartest species our world has ever seen, we haven’t always used the said intelligence in, let’s say, a desirable manner. You see, alongside all our cognitive abilities, human beings also house a tendency to be a little self-centered at times, and that can bring all sorts of problems into the picture, of course for others. Hence, to skirt pass the stated risk, the world will introduce dedicated regulatory bodies across the board. The move paid off time, as suddenly, we were a lot mindful about our actions than ever before, but it only lasted for a short while. Once technology took over landscape, it shook up the dynamic yet again. Only this time the rule breakers had an unprecedented amount of space to hide their misdoings. The stated reality would go on to destabilize the human spectrum in a highly noticeable manner. Nevertheless, the regulatory community is still very much alive, and if anything, a recent case can springboard it to bigger horizons moving forward.

Department of Justice has officially reached a settlement with Amazon-owned online pharmacy, PillPack, over a breach of Medicare and Medicaid regulations. The company will pay around $6 million in penalty after admitting to giving patients more insulin than the cap limit of these government healthcare programs. As per the details related to the incident, PillPack used to give patients a whole pack of insulin, which comes with 300 units, and by doing so, it would overstep the government guidelines for the operation. In case that wasn’t enough, the company would then use its reimbursement claims to present an inaccurately low figure regarding the days-of-supply. This helped PillPack in circumventing the prescribed limitations, and consequentially, overbilling the government agencies. According to the reports, the breach occurred between April 2014 and November 2019.

“Pharmacies are trusted to provide accurate information to Government healthcare programs and to prevent waste when dispensing medications to patients,” U.S. Attorney, Damian Williams. “PillPack abused this trust by dispensing insulin refills long before patients needed them and by falsely reporting the days-of-supply of insulin actually dispensed to prevent its claims for reimbursement from being denied.”

When asked for a comment about the whole issue, one Amazon spokesperson cited how it “was common among pharmacies to not open pre-packaged boxes of insulin pens to ensure customers had enough life-saving medication.”

PillPack is integral to Amazon’s pharmacy push. After completing the acquisition in 2018, the e-commerce giant used PillPack’s technology to build its very own Amazon Pharmacy, but despite the extensive links, PillPack has continued to function as a standalone service.


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