California regulators have started investigating allegations that CVS Caremark refilled prescriptions and submitted insurance claims without patients' consent, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Virginia Herold -- executive officer of the California Board of Pharmacy -- said investigators are paying particular attention to complaints that CVS enrolled patients in its automatic refill program without their permission.
The state pharmacy board's investigation comes as federal regulators are looking into the claims against CVS Caremark (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 10/16).
HHS' Office of Inspector General recently launched a federal probe into the issue.
An official familiar with the case -- who was not identified -- said the investigation is focusing on a random sampling of the millions of claims that CVS allegedly submitted for medications that patients did not request or collect. Pharmacies typically submit claims when prescriptions are filled and not when customers pick them up (California Healthline, 10/15).
Implications of the Probes
Officials said that findings from the state and federal probes could be referred to local district attorneys, the state attorney general or the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.
In extreme cases, the pharmacy board has the authority to revoke a company's professional pharmacy license and effectively shut them down.
CVS Caremark's Response
Michael DeAngelis -- a spokesperson for CVS -- said that company policy requires patient consent to "be obtained before a prescription is filled."
He added that CVS would provide the pharmacy board with any information that it needs (Los Angeles Times, 10/16).