A national probe into the way pharmaceutical benefits management companies do business expanded late last week when Caremark Rx revealed it is being investigated by attorneys general from 19 states.
Nashville-based Caremark-the nation's second-largest pharmacy-benefits manager-said it received an information request known as a "civil investigative demand" from Washington state's attorney general.
The administrative subpoena focuses on "consumer protection statutes and business practices" relating to Caremark and its recently acquired AdvancePCS unit, the company said.
The request comes just more than two months after industry-leader Medco HealTh Solutions agreed to pay $29 million to settle allegations it pressured doctors to switch patients' medications to benefit its bottom line.
Eighteen other states are expected to follow with their own investigative demands. Neither Caremark nor Washington officials would name the other participating states.
As a pharmacy benefits manager, Caremark contracts with more than 2,000 health plans to process prescription-drug payments to pharmacies for medications provided to the plan members.
Caremark spokesman Gerard Carney said the administrative subpoenas "appear to request information from us relating to issues that are similar to those addressed in other recent industry settlements."
News of the investigation sent Caremark stock down $1.20, or 3.7%, to close at $31 on the New York Stock Exchange on July 2.