Did CVS Go Too Far?

As we reported in a previous blog entry, HHS recently encouraged prescription drug plans to delay the payment of suspicious claims and to take proactive measures to prevent prescription drug fraud such as requiring pre-authorizations and limiting payment of controlled substances beyond a thirty-day supply . Now, it seems that CVS has decided to take matters further. A spokesperson for CVS has announced that the pharmacy sent out letters to a small number of Florida physicians informing them that the prescriptions they write for Schedule II narcotics will no longer be filled at any of their locations due to allegations of criminal wrongdoing. The spokesperson was quoted in his emailed announcement as saying, “While we regret any inconvenience this may cause for our customers, we treat the dispensing of controlled substances with utmost care and seriousness. CVS/pharmacy is unwavering in its compliance and measures to prevent drug abuse and keep controlled substances out of the wrong hands.” Five of the physicians on the list have been arrested on healthcare related charges, but none of them have been resolved up to this point. The Florida Department of Health has also recommended that several of the other physicians on the list have their licenses suspended or revoked.

This is the first time a major pharmacy chain has publicly taken this kind of action. CVS will not state their motive behind taking this action. Some are applauding CVS’ actions for attempting to reduce the amount of prescriptions that are being obtained fraudulently. Others are criticizing CVS for “jumping the gun” and treating these physicians as criminals prior to any conviction or final resolution.

For more information regarding prescription drug fraud and abuse/compliance, please contact Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or (212) 734-0128 or visit the HLP website.

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