The Pentagon blew $65 million on fake scar cream nobody wanted
A former Marine helped recruit service members for a scheme to bilk the Department of Defense out of more than $65 million using tubes of scar cream that did nothing to treat scars, according to a remarkable investigation by the Nashville Tennessean.
- Two doctors and a nurse at the Tennessee clinic have already pleaded guilty to defrauding Tricare to the tune of $65 million, while several other suspects, including the former Marnie and a Utah-based pharmacy, have already admitted to their role in the scheme.
- The scam was simple, according to the Tennessean: “The Marine was being paid to get medicine he didn’t need. A Tennessee doctor he had never met wrote him a medicinal cream prescription, which was being filled by a pharmacy in Utah. The military covered the bill and the Marine got a cash kickback from somebody.”
- The medicine Mederma, supposedly used to treat pain and scars, runs for about $30 on Amazon; according to the investigation, the Tennessee pharmacy was prescribing the stuff too Marines at $14,500 a tube as far back as 2015 — and the stuff barely even worked.
- Court documents reviewed by The Tennessean indicate that the recruiters, led by former Marine Joshua Morgan, “targeted Marines around Camp Pendleton, often by convincing the Marines they were joining a drug trial for the pain and scar creams. Marines were paid about $300 in illegal kickbacks each month,” according to the investigation.
- According to a 2015 CBS News report, the scar cream scheme succeeded by exploiting a loophole in Tricare regarding “compounded” medications which rely on mixing several medicines into a single treatment — medications that were fully covered by Tricare despite the absence of formal reviews of their effectiveness by the Food and Drug Administration
- “We’re on track this year to spend …read more
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