The Pill Club, an online women’s pharmacy, has reached an $18.3 million settlement with California authorities over claims it defrauded the state’s Medicaid program by prescribing birth control pills without adequate consultation and shipping tens of thousands of female condoms to customers who didn’t want them.
Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the agreement Tuesday, a day after a state court unsealed a whistleblower complaint against The Pill Club, which markets convenient reproductive health services to women nationwide. The whistleblowers’ complaint alleges the Silicon Valley company also bilked private health insurers in at least 38 states, including California.
The Pill Club agreed to pay $15 million to the state Department of Justice and $3.3 million to the Department of Insurance. California officials said they believe it’s the first such enforcement action against the company. The Pill Club formed in 2016 as an online-only pharmacy distributing birth control pills and other contraceptives. It serves more than 3 million customers nationwide, according to its website.
Liz Meyerdirk, The Pill Club’s CEO, said in a statement that she is “glad to have the opportunity to resolve these issues and to bring our full focus back to expanding access to contraceptive care for all who need it.” The company, which denied wrongdoing, noted that California is not requiring it to change its business practices. However, it said it has improved its billing and taken steps to make sure customers receive only products they request.
The whistleblower complaint was filed in 2019 by two of the company’s former nurse practitioners, Happy Baumann and Cindy Swintelski. They alleged that the company’s nurse practiti …