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Rite Aid Reaches|$3 Million Settlement

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Rite Aid will pay $3 million to settle claims that it offered gift cards so that Medicare and Medicaid patients would fill prescriptions at its pharmacies, the Department of Justice said.

In reaching the $2.99 million settlement, the nationwide drugstore did not admit wrongdoing or liability, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said that for two years beginning in 2008, Rite Aid offered gift cards to induce Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to transfer prescriptions to Rite Aid pharmacies.

"This settlement holds Rite Aid accountable for exerting undue influence on individuals when they make important healthcare decisions about where and when to fill prescriptions," Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura said in a statement. "Corporate profit should never steer an individual away from making the right healthcare decision."

A Florida pharmacist blew the whistle on the gift card scheme.

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