Maryland pharmacist sentenced for healthcare fraud

A Maryland pharmacist has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison in a case that caused the Food and Drug Administration to issue an alert about suspicious drugs in 2008. Pamela Arrey pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to misbrand pharmaceuticals, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

According to her guilty plea, Arrey owned and operated two pharmacies trading as the Medicine Shoppe, located on Liberty Road and Reisterstown Road in Baltimore. From Jan. 2003 to July 2008, Arrey identified patients who had filled prescriptions at her pharmacies and for whom the physician authorized refills that had never been requested. Arrey then claimed reimbursement from healthcare benefit programs, using patients’ personal identifying information, for fictional refills of those prescriptions.

Arrey also admitted to misbranding and relabeling prescription drugs she had purchased in large drums from an unlicensed supplier, for resale in her pharmacies, according to the release. She admitted that she filled prescription orders for pharmacy customers with misbranded pharmaceuticals, including Metformin, an oral diabetes medications used to help control blood sugar levels, and Gabapentin, an anti-epileptic medication used to treat seizures.

Arrey made more than $500,000 from the schemes, according to the Department of Justice.