Pharmacists accused in HIV medication scam

Stacey Sager reports from the Bronx.
March 11, 2014 3:51:36 PM PDT
A local pharmacy is accused of preying on customers with HIV.

Investigators say the pharmacy made millions of dollars while their customers weren't getting their medicine.

The pharmacy owners and a supervising pharmacist are all accused of fraud.

Investigators say they billed the government millions of dollars for expensive HIV medication and drove luxury cars, all the while many of their patients did not get their medicine.

The pharmacy is in the Fordham section of the Bronx.

The owners of the 184th Street Pharmacy didn't want anything to do with all the cameras outside their business in the Bronx Tuesday.

A booming business it was according to prosecutors. Ahmed Hamed, Tarek Elsayed, and Mohammed Hassan Ahmed, took in $9.8 million over the past year by giving HIV patients a couple of hundred bucks not to take their medicine. Then they allegedly would bill Medicaid a couple of thousand dollars each time.

"Essentially forcing these poor folks to choose between the drugs they needed to survive, and the money they needed to survive," said Eric Schneiderman, NY State Attorney General.

Nadine Levon is an HIV patient who says no one should be put in that situation.

"Why would you sell your medication unless you have a death wish? That's a slap in my face because I want to live," Levon said.

What's worse, investigators say the pharmacists paid bonus money for patients who recruited others. The more they got to come in, and give up the life-saving medicine, the bigger the payoff.

"These people put people's lives at risk, they robbed all the taxpayers, and they really disgraced their profession," Schneiderman said.

All, while living a lavish lifestyle, they owned six luxury cars including BMW's, Acura's, and a Maserati. There was also an alleged shopping spree at Tiffany as investigator retrieved the evidence. The community was in disbelief.

"That medicine is supposed to help them survive. Why would you tell someone not to take their medicine when you know they need it? That's wrong on all levels," said Yolanda Robinson, a Fordham business owner.