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Doctors allege conflicts of interest at pharmacy clinics

June 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — The American Medical Assn. wants authorities to investigate whether retail-based health clinics run by pharmacy chains pose conflicts of interest that put profits ahead of patient health.

The nation's largest physician group adopted a resolution Monday vowing to seek an investigation after members complained that the clinics interfered with the traditional practice of medicine.

The AMA wants state and federal agencies to look into whether pharmacy-chain-owned clinics urge patients to get their prescriptions filled on site, which the AMA maintains would pose a conflict. It also said that insurers should be barred from waiving or lowering co-payments only for patients treated at store clinics.

A spokesman for Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen Co., which runs 63 clinics in its stores in six states, said customers weren't steered to Walgreen pharmacies.

He said any investigation would find no problems.

"If the AMA pushes this agenda, its members may find out that legislators and constituents have been demanding accessible, affordable and high-quality healthcare for years and that's what retail clinics are delivering," Walgreen spokesman Michael Polzin said.

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