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State

Iowa City pharmacist disputes federal fraud charges

IOWA CITY (AP) — An Iowa City pharmacist is disputing allegations that he improperly received $1.6 million in insurance claims for expensive drugs to treat hemophilia.

Michael Stein pleaded not guilty Monday to federal fraud charges. He operates Pharmacy Matters, which has locations in Iowa City and North Liberty.

An indictment alleges Stein filed fraudulent claims seeking reimbursement from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2008. It says he signed an agreement to give a Florida pharmacy access to customers in the Wellmark network in exchange for compensation.

The indictment says Pharmacy Matters was a pass-through for the Florida pharmacy to distribute drugs used by hemophiliacs. Wellmark warns providers that such arrangements aren’t allowed.

But Stein’s attorney says his client contends the arrangement was legal and his company’s suing Wellmark for unpaid reimbursements.

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