Manitoba pharmacy faces $3.1-million lawsuit from federal government

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OTTAWA - A Prairie pharmacist and his former drug store face a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from the federal government over allegations they fleeced the aboriginal health-benefits plan.

A newly released report and documents filed in a Manitoba court allege Murvin Abas and Fisher Pharmacy submitted phoney claims to the Non-Insured Health Benefits program, overcharged for some products and had excessively high dispensing fees.

Ottawa is now suing Abas and the pharmacy for $3.1 million.

None of the allegations have been proven in court, and a statement of defence has yet to be filed.

The claims are the latest to surface as part of a months-long investigation by The Canadian Press into a string of alleged wrongdoings involving federal money for aboriginal health care.

Abas declined to discuss his case during a brief telephone interview.

The federal NIHB program provides health-benefit coverage to eligible members of First Nations and Inuit communities when they are not insured by private or provincial plans.

Organizations: Non-Insured Health Benefits, Canadian Press, First Nations

Geographic location: Manitoba, OTTAWA

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