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Last week, the Federal Trade Commission announced (news release) that CVS Caremark Corporation (pdf of the complaint) will "pay $5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented the prices of certain Medicare Part D prescription drugs – including drugs used to treat breast cancer symptoms and epilepsy – at CVS and Walgreens pharmacies."
CVS Caremark is a powerful intermediary in the Rx business representing the 4-year old merger of the powerful drug store chain CVS and the large Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) Caremark. Last April, U.S. PIRG and other leading groups including Consumer Reports/Consumers Union, National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices (NLARx), Community Catalyst and the Consumer Federation of America (letter) urged the Federal Trade Commission to break up the merger because it reduced choice, raised prices and violated patient privacy (more from New York Times).
Along with CFA and NLARx, we have also urged the U.S. courts (amicus brief) not to remove litigation against CVS Caremark into the private, secret arbitration process.
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When Big Pharma pays off their competition to keep them from selling lower priced generic drugs, we all pay. Each year this costs Americans an added $3.5 billion.
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