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For Immediate Release
January 9, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

ATTORNEYS GENERAL ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT WITH CVS PHARMACIES OVER "PARTIAL-FILL" PRESCRIPTION PRACTICES

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, along with the offices of 18 other jurisdictions, has reached a $1.1 million settlement agreement with CVS Pharmacies to resolve allegations about unfair billing practices. CVS denied the allegations, but has agreed to change its practices and to pay $1.1 million to the participating jurisdictions. Maryland will receive $48,966 from the settlement proceeds, a part of which will be used to benefit low-income, disabled or elderly consumers of prescription medications.

The settlement resolves allegations that CVS Pharmacies initially charged consumers the full amount for prescriptions that were not completely filled due to insufficient inventory and then retained the excess payment if the consumer did not return to pick up the balance of the prescription at a later date. Under the settlement, CVS is required to develop and implement pharmacy billing policies that will prevent consumers from being billed for medication until the entire amount prescribed has been dispensed.

Specifically, when dispensing a partial-fill prescription, CVS is required to clearly inform the consumer:

• of the amount of the medication that has been dispensed and that it is a partial-fill prescription,
• the reason for furnishing a partial-fill prescription,
• that the consumer is not required to pay for the partial-fill prescription in whole, in part or through any payment of a co-pay or deductible at the time the partial-fill is received, and
• instructions regarding the need to return to the CVS store to obtain the remaining medication.

In addition, prescriptions filled through CVS' PharmaCare mail-order operation will not be mailed to the consumer until the full amount of the medication can be dispensed.

"This settlement ensures that consumers will get the full prescriptions they pay for," said Attorney General Curran.

The settlement was with CVS Corporation of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, CVS Pharmacies, Inc., ProCare Pharmacy, Inc., and each of their respective subsidiaries that dispense and distribute prescriptions filled in a retail pharmacy. In addition to Maryland, the other jurisdictions participating in the settlement are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.

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