MARGATE — The ongoing Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office investigation into alleged prescription drug benefits fraud has expanded to the Margate City School District.
John DiNicola, district superintendent, said Monday the district received a subpoena Friday requesting names of all employees “that have Express Scripts, Medco, and/or NJ Direct as part of their insurance plans.” The district plans to respond to the request Tuesday, DiNicola said.
Meanwhile, investigators for the prosecutor's office visited the Ventnor School District but did not issue a subpoena because the district does not participate in the plans on their list, district officials said.
DiNicola declined to comment further on the investigation.
On July 31, the Prosecutor’s Office announced Atlantic County grand jury subpoenas were issued to Atlantic City, Ventnor and Margate, the same three towns under federal investigation, looking into city employee health insurance information.
The investigation into alleged prescription-benefit fraud in three Absecon Island towns could include doctors, pharmaceutical representatives and compounded drugs, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said last week.
Drug compounding is a process in which a pharmacist or doctor alters or mixes ingredients into a custom drug to fit the needs of a patient, according to the federal Food & Drug Administration.
The process of mixing drugs is legal, and compounded medications can be beneficial to patients unable to take another drug because of allergies or other issues. But the compounded medications can cost thousands of dollars. Recent criminal prosecutions show how the manufacturing and sale of the compounded medications can become a crime.
In 2015, a Lakewood compounding pharmacy owner was convicted and sent to prison for paying cash bribes to physicians for prescribing pain-cream prescriptions.
The FBI has declined to comment about its investigation.
In a previous interview, Tyner has said the process of drug-compounding fraud could be part of the probe and the search of Dr. James Kauffman’s office in June was partially related to the ongoing drug investigation.