CVS under investigation by FTC again

The Associated Press is reporting that CVS Caremark reported in its quarterly filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the the Federal Trade Commission is investigating some of the company’s business practices. In that filing, CVS reported:

In August 2009, the Company was notified by the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) that it is conducting a non-public investigation under the Federal Trade Commission Act into certain of the Company’s business practices. The Company is cooperating in the FTC’s investigation and is voluntarily producing documents and other information on a rolling basis as requested by the FTC. The Company is not able to predict with certainty the timing, outcome or consequence of the investigation. However, it remains confident that its business practices and service offerings (which are designed to reduce healthcare costs and expand consumer choice) are being conducted in compliance with the antitrust laws.

According to the Associated Press:

CVS suggested the FTC inquiry is connected to complaints made by the Change to Win coalition of labor unions. Change to Win has said CVS Caremark’s size and buying power are bad for consumers, and accused CVS of a stocking expired products and violating patients’ privacy, among other issues.

CVS has not responded to a request for a statement sent by this site yesterday as of the time of this publication, but had previously refuted Change to Win’s allegations.

CVS has been investigated and fined by the FTC and the Indiana Attorney General in the past over privacy issues concerning the disposal of pharmacy records. In May, the National Community Pharmacists Association alleged that CVS uses pricing and patient data it collects through Caremark to market to patients who are not having their prescriptions filled at a CVS pharmacy. The spokesperson also claimed that “patients who have never shopped at CVS have suddenly started receiving marketing materials from the company and, in some cases, had prescriptions filled there without their knowledge.”

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