CT sues Florida pharmacy in state-employee kickback scheme

The state has filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the state's False Claims Act orchestrated through a kickback, pyramid scheme involving a Florida-based compounding pharmacy. The pharmacy and several individuals, including a number of former and current state employees whose prescription drug costs are covered by a taxpayer-funded benefit plan, are named in the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that Assured Rx, a Florida compounding pharmacy that holds a non-resident pharmacy license in Connecticut, conspired with Nicholas Maulucci of Simsbury, a retired employee of the state's Department of Correction, and his former spouse, Lisette Maulucci. The pair are named in a scheme to file false claims with the Connecticut Pharmacy Benefit Plan, which provides prescription drug benefits to enrolled state employees and eligible family members.

According to the lawsuit, Assured Rx paid the Mauluccis kickbacks for their own compound drug prescriptions and those of other Pharmacy Benefit Plan members they recruited. In turn, the other plan members — several of whom are named as co-defendants — received payments from the Mauluccis as in a pyramid scheme.

The kickbacks were allegedly paid out of reimbursements Assured Rx received from the Pharmacy Benefit Plan for dispensing the compound drug products. The Mauluccis incorporated a new business, NLM, LLC, a limited liability company registered in Florida, for the alleged purpose of funneling the kickback payments.

The total cost to the Pharmacy Benefit Plan for prescriptions related to this alleged scheme was approximately $10.9 million.

This lawsuit, which seeks civil penalties, treble damages and other relief under the Connecticut False Claims Act, stems from an investigation launched by the state attorney general's office in 2014.

The state's probe into other compounded pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacy providers is ongoing.