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Food and Drug Administration and Compliance Issues
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Florida Man Admits Role in $35 Million Pharmacy Compounded Medication Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – A Palm City, Florida, man today admitted participating in a compounded medication kickback scheme that he and others ran out of a pharmacy in Clifton, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Anderson Triggs, 42, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2014 through 2016, Triggs and his conspirators used Main Avenue Pharmacy, a mail-order pharmacy with a storefront in Clifton, New Jersey, to run a kickback scheme involving compounded drugs like scar creams, pain creams, migraine mediation, and vitamins. Compounded drugs are prescribed by a physician when an FDA-approved drug did not meet the health needs of a particular patient, such as when a dye or preservative triggers an allergic reaction, or when a patient can’t swallow an FDA-approved pill.
Triggs started as a consultant to Main Avenue Pharmacy and later became a board member of its corporate parent. The scheme revolved around identifying compounded drugs that would yield exorbitant reimbursements from health insurers, including both federal and commercial payers.
The physicians who signed prescriptions for compounded medications that were filled at Main Avenue frequently had never even spoken to the patients or examined them. Once the prescriptions were signed by a doctor, they would be returned to the marketing company, which would transmit the prescription to Main Avenue Pharmacy, which would fill them and submit claims to health care benefit programs for reimbursement
On compounded medications alone, Main Avenue received over $34 million in reimbursements from health care benefit programs, approximately $8 million of which was paid by federal payers. Triggs earned over $900,000 through the course of the scheme.
The charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for June 21, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Hegarty; and special agents of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason S. Gould of the Health Care Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.