October 25, 2012 |
Chris Cullum normally gets his prescriptions filled at a CVS Caremark store in San Diego. But, while traveling, he placed orders at a CVS branch in Arizona this year and at a branch in Illinois last year. In both cases, Cullum said, he subsequently received calls from the stores in those states letting him know that refills were ready. Two things make this noteworthy. One: Cullum, like other CVS customers who have related similar experiences, never signed up for the pharmacy's automatic-refill program, ReadyFill.
October 24, 2012 |
Retired social worker Nina Nestor got an all-too-familiar phone call last week: Her prescription refill was ready at her CVS store in San Clemente. Trouble is, the 83-year-old cancer patient didn't ask for the refill or numerous others that CVS pharmacists filled this year without her permission. "The pharmacist told me after two weeks they put it back in stock and reverse the billing," Nestor said. "But I wonder about that. " Government officials share her concerns. Allegations that the pharmacy giant has been automatically refilling medications without patient consent - and possibly overbilling insurers and government programs for unused medicine - have sparked four government investigations in recent weeks, the most recent by the U.S. Justice Department.
October 23, 2012 |
Ivor Davis received a call recently from the Target pharmacy near his home in Ventura. He was informed he could pick up a refill of medication for his wife, Sally, who is battling pancreatic cancer. Davis, 74, told me he and his wife like to be flexible in deciding where and when they purchase her drugs. Sometimes they refill prescriptions during visits to Seattle. Sometimes Davis crosses the border into Canada, where the usual $166 cost for Sally's pills can be cut in half. They never ask any pharmacy to refill an order until they're ready, which is why Target's call came as such a surprise.
October 19, 2012 |
The U.S. Justice Department's civil fraud division is investigating claims that CVS Caremark wrongly refilled prescriptions and billed insurers without the knowledge or the approval of its customers. The probe will focus primarily on allegations of Medicare fraud, said Shana T. Mintz, an assistant U.S. attorney in the division's Los Angeles office. The investigation also will look into whether CVS violated a $17.5-million settlement reached with federal authorities last year over allegedly falsified claims to Medicaid programs in California and nine other states, Mintz said.
October 18, 2012 |
CVS Caremark is feeling more heat. Join me at 3:15 p.m. PDT for a Google+ Hangout video chat about my latest column on CVS being investigated for allegedly refilling prescriptions and submitting claims to insurers without patients' approval. Another federal investigation has begun. I'll have information on that. Also, we've gotten our hands on more internal documents highlighting instructions given to CVS pharmacists about enrolling people in the company's automatic-refill program.
October 16, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - State pharmacy regulators have opened an investigation into reports that CVS Caremark Corp. refilled prescriptions and billed insurance companies without patients' consent. Virginia Herold, executive officer of the California Board of Pharmacy, said Tuesday that investigators were probing complaints about the refill practices of the country's largest drugstore chain after Walgreen Co. Herold said the complaints concerning "CVS and refills" were similar to allegations raised in four Los Angeles Times reports published in the last three months.
October 12, 2012 |
Medicare is investigating reports that CVS Caremark Corp., the country's second-largest drugstore chain, has refilled prescriptions and submitted insurance claims without patients' approval, according to an official with knowledge of the matter. The Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched the investigation into CVS' refill practices, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and therefore requested anonymity.
May 4, 2012 |
Here's looking at you, Medco. Jerry Lacy played Humphrey Bogart in the 1972 film "Play It Again, Sam. " He also appeared in various soap operas. These days, though, he's playing a bit part in the disaster movie known as the U.S. healthcare system. Lacy, 76, of Calabasas, requires prescription meds to control his cholesterol and blood pressure. His wife takes pills for a thyroid condition. But now Lacy has a choice to make: Pay full price for the meds at drugstores like CVS or Walgreens, or buy from a single source - the online drugstore belonging to Medco.
April 3, 2012 |
Most people might not know what a pharmacy benefit manager is. That's unfortunate, because these companies have a lot of clout over people's healthcare. The topic arises because the Federal Trade Commission has approved the $29-billion merger of Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, creating the country's biggest pharmacy benefit manager. Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, oversee the drug plans for employers and insurers. They dicker with drugstores over how much prescription drugs should cost.
January 12, 2012 |
Here's your three-times-a-lady Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web: -- A little fungicide with your Coke? Coca-Cola says it has alerted the Food and Drug Administration after discovering that Brazilian growers had sprayed their orange trees with a fungicide that is not approved for use in the U.S. Most orange juice products made by Coke and other companies contain a blend of juice from different sources, including...