CVS Caremark, which simultaneously operates one of the largest US pharmacy benefit managers and retail pharmacy chains, will pay a $5 million fine to settle charges brought by the US Federal Trade Commission over charges that prices of various Medicare Part D drugs - including those for treating breast cancer and epilepsy - were misrepresented at CVS and Walgreen pharmacies.
The scheme allegedly caused many seniors and disabled consumers to pay up to 10 times the correct prices for their drugs and pushed them into the so-called donut hole, which refers to the coverage gap where drug costs are not reimbursed, sooner than anticipated. The settlement requires CVS Caremark to pay $5 million to reimburse consumers for the price discrepancies.
[UPDATE: "The settlement should...serve as a warning to any Medicare drug plan sponsors that have potentially misled seniors in their promotion of so-called ‘preferred pharmacy’ plans," Doug Hoey, ceo of the National Community Pharmacists Association, says in a statement. "At the same time, it is regrettable that the FTC’s actions fell short of more robust protections for consumers and pharmacy competition, which are warranted in our view. NCPA provided to the agency what we believe to be compelling evidence, including one-sided contract terms with pharmacy small business owners, patient privacy concerns and a lack of transparency."]
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CVS Caremark to Pay $5M for Defrauding Seniors