January 9, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
GENERAL ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT WITH CVS PHARMACIES OVER "PARTIAL-FILL"
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
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.
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.
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.
settlement ensures that consumers will get the full prescriptions
they pay for," said Attorney General Curran.
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.