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October 2002 issue Pharmacy Today magazine


Fraudulent claiming of $1029 of Ministry of Health money has cost an Auckland pharmacist $56,000.

Former Eastridge Pharmacy owner Vimal Raniga was fined $11,500 after pleading guilty to 12 charges relating to altering claims documents in 2000 and 2001.

The court ordered him to repay the $1029 as well as paying HealthPAC's prosecution and investigation costs of $43,500.

HealthPAC is now considering civil action against Vimal Raniga to recover about $40,000 for non-compliant or fraudulent claims.

Group manager Jeannie Bathgate says the case is a sign the agency's zero tolerance of fraud is working effectively.

Recently, HealthPAC introduced sophisticated computer profiling software able to identify suspicious claiming behaviour.

Of the 28 health professionals prosecuted by HealthPAC since 1995, seven were pharmacists.

Originally HealthPAC laid 20 charges against Vimal Raniga.

They relate to altering claim documents and dates on prescription forms and deleting stat annotations to claim additional dispensing fees. The charges also encompassed falsifying quantities of medicines, and repeat dispensing documents.

Jeannie Bathgate says the case works as a major deterrent to health system fraud, saving millions of dollars meant for patient care.

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