Pharmacy benefits-management company Caremark Rx, Woonsocket, R.I., will pay $38.5 million to 28 states and the District of Columbia to settle charges that the company, under the guise of saving customers money, persuaded doctors to switch patients to specific brand-name prescription drugs without disclosing its own financial interest in the recommended switches, according to news releases.
The settlement is the result of a four-year investigation into whether Caremark improperly guided customers toward drugs for which they received extensive volume discounts and manufacturer rebates from drugmakers. Under the arrangement, Caremark admits no wrongdoing but agrees to abide by a stringent policy governing their prescription fulfillment practices. Among other restrictions, the policy forbids Caremark from recommending drug changes to customers when the proposed drug will cost either the customer or his employer more money than the originally prescribed drug; and when the original drug has a generic equivalent and the recommended one does not.
Caremark also has agreed to pay up to $2.5 million to reimburse patients who paid more to purchase the recommended drugs than they would have paid for the original prescriptions. The multistate settlement includes Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. -- by Shawn Rhea