PHARMACY

FTC ends investigation of CVS Caremark

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission has concluded its investigation into the company’s business practices.

The investigation has resulted in CVS Caremark entering into a consent order that relates to certain business practices of a subsidiary of Longs Drug Stores, which took place prior to the acquisition of Longs by CVS Caremark in October 2008.  There were no allegations of antitrust law violations or anticompetitive behavior related to CVS Caremark’s business practices or its products or service offerings. In addition, the company has received a formal letter from the FTC closing all other aspects of the investigation.



Pursuant to the consent order, CVS Caremark will deposit $5 million into a fund that will be used to compensate consumers who purchased coverage for the 2008 plan year from a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan sponsored by Rx America, a subsidiary of Longs. The fund is being established as a result of Rx America inadvertently posting on a website maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inaccurate pricing information for certain generic drugs. In addition, CVS Caremark agreed on a go forward basis to refrain from making any misrepresentations regarding drug pricing information relating to affiliate sponsored Medicare Part D plans. The consent order will be published in the Federal Register and is subject to comment for 30 days.


”CVS Caremark is pleased to have reached an agreement with the FTC that ends the investigation and enables us to continue our focus on offering unique, innovative products and services that differentiate us and benefit consumers,” stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. “We remain committed to delivering the best possible pharmacy care by driving down healthcare costs, expanding consumer access and improving healthcare outcomes.”

“During the course of this two-year investigation, our company cooperated fully with the FTC and provided to the government millions of documents as well as access to numerous members of our management team who participated in voluntary interviews and depositions,” stated Douglas Sgarro, EVP and chief legal officer of CVS Caremark. “It is important to note that, at the conclusion of this comprehensive investigation, the FTC made no allegations of antitrust law violations or anticompetitive behavior associated with any of our business practices, products or service offerings.”


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PHARMACY

Octapharma USA hires former Baxter BioScience executive

BY Alaric DeArment

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Drug maker Octapharma USA has appointed David Holliday as VP commercial development, the company said.

Octapharma USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Swiss drug maker Octapharma AG, said Holliday will be responsible for U.S. product marketing, sales, commercial activities and coordination with global portfolio development initiatives. The company manufactures drugs, such as the immune deficiency treatment Octagam (immune globulin intravenous [human] 5%) and the Von Willebrand disease treatment Wilate (Von Willebrand factor and coagulation factor VIII complex [human]).

Holliday most recently served as VP global marketing operations and hemophilia for Baxter BioScience and has more than 24 years of industry leadership experience, Octapharma said.


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Prasco to distribute authorized generic drug for seizures, pain

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI — Prasco Labs will act as the distributor for an authorized generic version of a Shire anticonvulsant drug, the company said Thursday.

Prasco announced that it had partnered with Shire to distribute carbamazepine extended-release capsules in the 100-mg, 200-mg and 300-mg strengths. The drug is an authorized generic version of Carbatrol, used to treat certain types of seizures and pain.

Authorized generics are branded drugs sold under their generic names at a reduced price.


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