California Pharmacy Board investigating complaints about CVS

Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:17pm EDT

Oct 17 (Reuters) - California's pharmacy regulator is investigating consumer complaints filed in the wake of reports that CVS Caremark Corp refilled prescriptions and billed insurance companies without patients' consent.

"We are a consumer protection agency charged to investigate complaints," said Virginia Herold, executive officer of the California Board of Pharmacy. "We have received a number of them."

She said the complaints follow recent allegations raised by The Los Angeles Times, which last week said that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was investigating the retail chain as part of efforts to stem fraud against the U.S. government's Medicare health plan for the elderly.

A spokesman for the OIG said he could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

"Should the (California) Board need more information about our medication adherence or other pharmacy services, we would be available to discuss these with them," CVS said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company repeated that its programs require that a patient's consent be obtained before a prescription is refilled.

CVS, which runs both a major U.S. pharmacy chain and a large pharmacy benefits management business, also said that it had not been contacted by OIG in regards to any investigation.

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