Feds: Druggist sold repackaged samples in Medicare scam

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A Westland pharmacist has been charged in a Medicare fraud scheme in which he allegedly waived co-payments for patients, gave them free snacks to ensure they would fill prescriptions at his business and sold them drug samples he had repackaged in bottles.

Matthew Pierce, the owner and operator of Value Pharmacy on Merriman Road in Westland, was charged Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit with health care fraud and violating federal law by selling, purchasing and trading prescription drug samples.

Prosecutors allege Pierce purchased trash bags full of prescription drug samples from a physician, removed the packaging, and repacked the drugs into bottles to make it appear as through the drugs were purchased from a wholesaler.

From January 2008 through February 2015, Pierce then sold the samples to Medicare patients at his pharmacy, according to authorities. He then billed Medicare for prescriptions that were never dispensed to patients, concealed the false claims and used the money for his personal use, prosecutors allege.

The fraud involved expensive name brand prescription drugs Spiriva and Advair and totaled $649,632.04.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office say it is entitled to criminal forfeiture in the case and is seeking a judgment of $649,632.04.

Attempts to reach Pierce were unsuccessful. He became a licensed pharmacist in Michigan in 1999 and incorporated Value Pharmacy in 2005. It closed in February 2015.

The felony charge carries a penality of up to 10 years in prison.