SEATTLE (CN) - Caremark Rx, a giant mail-order pharmacy, deceives consumers by failing to disclose its "drug switching" plan in which it switches selected prescription drugs for other, sometimes more expensive, drugs, and fails to disclose that it gets kickbacks from drug makers for the switching, the State of Washington claims in Federal Court."Caremark's drug switching programs are determined largely by Caremark's desire to maximize its receipt of rebates from drug manufacturers," the state claims. The State of Arkansas filed a similar claim in Little Rock.
"Caremark represents to physicians and to Plan Participants that drug switches save Plan Participants and/or the Client Plan money, when that is not necessarily the case," Washington state says. "In fact, some drugs to which Plan Participants are switched actually cost more or approximately the same amount and the originally purchased drug.
"With respect to certain drug therapies, a switch from one drug to another in the same therapeutic class often requires the Plan Participant to undergo one or more tests, and may require one or more doctor visits, to monitor the new drug therapy and ensure the new drug's efficacy. Plan Participants would not have incurred these additional health care costs but for Caremark's drug switches."
The state adds: "Caremark provides pharmacy benefit management services to over 2,000 health care plan clients servicing millions of persons nationwide," including "a retail pharmacy network with over 59,000 participating pharmacies." It reported net revenue of $36.8 billion in 2006.
The State of Arkansas filed a similar claim against Caremark in Pulaski County Court, Little Rock.
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