CHRISTOPHER BLACKSTONE has been sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment to be followed by a 2-year term of supervised release after pleading guilty in federal court relating to his role in a health care fraud conspiracy.
BLACKSTONE,age 46, a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty on February 24, 2021 before U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk to Count One of a bill of information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1347 and 1349.
According to the bill of information, BLACKSTONE was the owner of Prime Pharmacy Solutions (“Prime”) in Slidell, Louisiana. Between 2014 and 2016, Prime operated primarily as a closed-door pharmacy that mixed and filled prescriptions for compounded medications. The cost of these medications was reimbursed by health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, a health care benefit program for United States military personnel and their families.
Prime Pharmacy contracted with various entities, including Pharmacy Benefit Managers (“PBMs”), obligating Prime Pharmacy to collect copayments from beneficiaries in order to obtain reimbursement from various health care benefit programs, including TRICARE. BLACKSTONE, along with his co-conspirators, acting on behalf of Prime, selected formulas for compounded medications, not based on their effectiveness or individualized patient need, but rather, to maximize reimbursement from TRICARE and other health care benefit programs. Prime then mass produced these High-Yield Compounded Medications and created a series of preprinted prescription forms encouraging and directing prescribers/doctors to prescribe these High-Yield Compounded Medications.
“The VA Office of Inspector General is dedicated to ensuring the integrity of VA’s healthcare services. Those who would commit fraud to exploit veteran care and steal taxpayer dollars will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Kris Raper with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s South-Central Field Office. “The VA OIG thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in this case.”
“Compounding pharmacy fraud is a prescription for profit instead of patient care and exploits our active-duty service members, veterans, and their families,” stated Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones, with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Southeast Field Office. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our investigative team for their tireless efforts to bring these crimes to light and ensure individuals are held accountable when their first allegiance is to the bottom line at the expense of their patients.”
This case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Office of Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn McHugh of the Financial Crimes Unit.
Source: Department of Justice