Dishonest CVS Finds New Way To Steal

Right near the top of my list of Rotten Companies is the disgusting mega-corporation CVS Pharmacy, which over the past few years has been buying up smaller pharmacy chains here, there, and everywhere, in its effort to dominate the retail drug business and cheat and steal from consumers at the highest and most productive levels possible. Their newest

scheme is a doozy, and it doesn’t take a genius to see through the lies and phony policy statement to see the real purpose involved.

But first a little history about how they got where they are today, to being the second largest prescription drug retailer in the US, with over 7,600 stores, after buying out such former industry stalwarts as Mack Drug Stores, Clinton
Drug and Discount, Peoples Drug, Revco, Arbor Drugs, Rix Dunnington, Stadtlander Pharmacy, Eckerd Drug Stores, Navarro Discount Pharmacies, Longs Drugs, the drug store operations of Albertsons groceries that included the 700-plus stores operated under the OSCO and Sav-On brand names, and last year they acquired the 1,660 pharmacies in 47 states previously owned and operated by Target.

They’ve also acquired various online drug prescription businesses including (that name is no longer in use by CVS), Eckerd Health Services and the online pharmacy business that had been operated by J. C. Penney.

CVS also owns and operates MinuteClinic, the largest provider of retail-based health clinics in the U.S., CVS Health, formerly Caremark Corporation and formerly CVS Caremark Corporation, the dominant provider of mail-order prescription drugs in the country (and likely in the world), and Omnicare, Inc., the leading provider of pharmacy services to long term care facilities.

Along the way, they’ve repeatedly crossed the line of legal and ethical practices:

  • In 2009, they paid a fine of $2.25 Million to the federal government for violation of federal patient privacy laws.
  • A little over 10 years ago, two CVS executives were charged by a federal grand jury with bribery, conspiracy and fraud, and while the elected official involved, Rhode Island state senator John A. Celona eventually pled guilty to mail fraud charges, the CVS executives involved were found not guilty at trial.
  • In 2005, the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy released results of an investigation that showed dozens of errors on the part of CVS in filling prescriptions in stores located within the state, and a two-year state monitoring of the company’s stores was imposed,. In 2007, an ABC television documentary “ABC News ’20/20′ Undercover Pharmacy Investigation” documented evidence of various instances of improper dispensing of prescription drugs by the pharmacy chain.
  • In February of 2008, CVS agreed to pay the sum of $38.5 Million to settle a multi-state civil deceptive-practices lawsuit filed against them by the Attorneys General of 28 states. At the heart of the lawsuit was CVS’s practice of misinforming physicians that their patients could save money if their prescriptions were switched to certain brand-name prescription drugs, when in fact such switching was done for the purpose of increasing CVS profits.
  • In 2010, CVS was ordered to pay $77.6 Million in fines and improperly-obtained profits for improper practices in the retail sales of pseudoephedrine.
  • Last year, the DEA began an investigation of CVS pharmacies in Florida for the massive numbers of prescriptions the company’s stores were filling for Oxycodone, including of the stores in Sanford, FL, where the city’s CVS stores were filling a volume of prescriptions that would supply a population eight times the size of that small community.

So, with all that background, this is what CVS has come up with now:

As an example, we’ll use Patient X (a very close relative of mine). For many years, Patient X, a diabetic, has been prescribed insulin, which she injects three times per day, in the form of NovoLog FlexPen pre-filled syringes, that require only dialing an amount and then injecting, without having to fill a syringe from a bottle. For these many years, Patient X has been prescribed a month’s supply of the NovoLog FlexPens
at the beginning of each month. A month’s supply of the pens for her dosage has always been 14 pens. The manufacturer packages them in boxes of five, and for years, when filling her monthly prescription, Patient X has received two full boxes and either an opened third box with one pen removed for a total of 14, or two full boxes and a properly labeled plastic bag containing four pens, for that same total of 14.

Over the years, Patient X has had her prescriptions filled first at a small independent pharmacy that went out of business several years ago, and then at Target Pharmacy for several years. Three years ago due to a change of insurance, Patient X was required by her new carrier to switch to CVS, but then a year later Patient X became eligible for Medicare, and under Medicare, was able to return to Target for this and other prescriptions. For all these years through the original pharmacy, Target, and three years ago at for a year at CVS, her NovoLog FlexPen prescription was properly filled with a month’s supply of 14 pens.

But guess what CVS has now come up with? They are now saying that they have a POLICY that says that they will NOT open a box of something like prescription NovoLog FlexPens to provide a full prescription of some amount other than a multiple of five pens, and that from now on, her prescription will be filled with only two full boxes totaling ten pens.

What this means is that instead of one prescription per month and one insurance payment and one co-pay to CVS per month, CVS will now be receiving close to a 33% increase in

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co-pay payments, from Patient X herself as her co-pay, and from the millions of other diabetics who are their customers. For your consideration is the fact that the cost of a single box of NovoLog FlexPens is over $500.00 and that a month’s supply of 14 pens is a monthly charge of over $1,400.00 per patient. Co-pays if course vary by prescription plan, but as a name brand prescription, generally each such co-pay is $35 or $40.

When given this information, Patient X contacted other pharmacies, and none have imposed such a policy, meaning a refill would remain a full complement of 14 pens on a monthly basis, with a single co-pay per month, unlike when obtained from the crooks and thieves who own and operate the rotten company, CVS Pharmacy.

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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