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July 24, 2012 / Admin

Caremark- CVS Merger

In March 2007, Caremark Rx, Inc. completed its merger with CVS Corporation. This union has had a significant negative impact on patients’ access to the pharmacy of their choice as Caremark Rx, Inc. has been forcing its insured to get their prescriptions from out-of-state mail order warehouses and away from their local community pharmacist.  In addition, CVS pharmacy benefit managers have steered patients to their own drugstores by raising co-pays for drugs bought elsewhere or by requiring that they be purchased at CVS.  This has particularly been difficult for some patients who have been with the same pharmacy for literally decades.

Eight members of Congress — four Democrats and four Republicans — have asked the Federal Trade Commission in a letter to reopen its investigation into the 2007 merger, citing concerns about competition and consumer privacy.  In a letter signed by Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.; Marion Berry, D-Ark.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Michael Acuri, D-N.Y.; Mike Rogers, R-Mich.; Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Robert Aderholt, R-Ala.; and Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, the lawmakers said the merger created opportunities for the company to enrich itself at the expense of competition and consumers.

Among the company’s practices have been putting consumers on a “maintenance choice” program, under which they can only get their prescriptions by mail or at CVS pharmacies, without their permission; charging lower co-pays to members who fill their prescriptions at CVS pharmacies; misusing information collected by Caremark to find out if customers are using non-CVS pharmacies, and then advising them not to; and co-branding its prescription drug card in a way that falsely suggests it can only be used at CVS pharmacies, the letter said.

While the FTC is looking into the issues revolving around the merger, privately owned pharmacies continue to lose their patients and long time customers thanks to the company’s practices.  We can assist these pharmacies in protecting their rights against such practices.

 

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