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Ireland's largest pharmacy group investigated by HSE over 'irregularities' in fee claims

The allegations were raised by a whistleblower.

THE HSE IS investigating possible irregularities in fees claimed by Lloyds Pharmacy Ireland, the largest pharmacy group in the country with 93 branches nationwide.

The investigation is focused on phased dispensing fees charged by the group  on their medication management system MyMed, which phases medication into weekly packs for those on large amounts of medication, according to a report by RTE’s Investigations Unit.

HSE rules stipulate a very limited number of circumstances under which a pharmacy can claim additional charges for multiple phased dispensing of one prescription.

Documentation provided to RTE by a whistleblower shows that staff are actively encouraged to promote MyMed with customers and indeed are reminded in the company newsletter about the profits that the system generates for the company.

A Lloyds graphic details how a normal prescription might generate €25  for the company in fees claimed from the HSE, whereas if it is processed via MyMed it can generate €74.

Prescriptions provided to RTE further show that while a patient may receive all his/her monthly medication in one go, the fees claimed are done as if the medication was dispensed on a phased basis.

Investigation

The HSE has confirmed that it is in the process of carrying out investigations in relation to certain claims submitted for payment, and that while the review is still ongoing  it will take any action it deems necessary depending on the outcome of said investigation.

Lloyds have denied the allegations in a statement saying that they “strongly refute the allegations relating to our phased dispensing service”.

“We fully adhere to the HSE’s own phased dispensing guidelines, agreements and processes,” the statement reads. 

The company concedes however that their “staff incentive structures are currently under review”.

The original RTE Investigations report can be viewed here.

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