OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Pharmacy benefits manager CVS/Caremark is in hot water after allegations that they errantly told Oklahoma consumers they could no longer fill a 90-day supply of medications in Oklahoma because of a state law.
“It’s the second occurrence; we have fined them literally millions of dollars and that seems to not be getting their attention. It is a drastic step, but I’m not sure what else to do to get their attention when millions of dollars in fines are not getting their attention,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready.
While the Oklahoma Insurance Department said they sent a notice to CVS/Caremark in February alerting them of misinformation and asking them to take corrective action, the department said the company has repeatedly violated the Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act by “steering patients” to CVS pharmacies and prescription mail-order services.
According to the agency, while CVS/Caremark initially took corrective action, they did not make changes to their communication that went out to Oklahomans.
“I am convinced that CVS/Caremark does not want to follow Oklahoma law and wants to find every opportunity to skirt their responsibility,” Mulready said in a statement to KFOR.
“I am extremely frustrated with the misinformation and confusion presented to Oklahoma consumers.”
Subsequently, the Oklahoma Insurance Department filed an administrative action against the company in an effort to “censure, suspend, place on probation or revoke” the Pharmacy Benefit Manager’s (PBM) license of CVS/Caremark.
“What they tell me is their systems are not able to do that; they won’t be able to get to that till next year. They’re a multi-billion-dollar company. I find that hard to believe,” he added.
In response to the OID decision provided Tuesday to KFOR, CVS/Caremark said the allegations are without merit:
“Commissioner Mulready’s allegations are without merit. The Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) recently asserted authority over prescription benefits for certain multistate or national employers headquartered outside the state of Oklahoma and we discussed with the OID our concerns about the impact changing uniform benefit design could have on consumers who rely on 90-day prescriptions. Only Oklahoma consumers who are members of those out-of-state plans are impacted by these changes and we are ensuring that they are able to access their medications without interruption.”CVS/Caremark
In a follow-up email to the station, the company declined to confirm the number of consumers it serves across the state or why it assessed the Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act as a “recently asserted authority”.
The Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act passed Oklahoma’s legislature in 2019.
The administrative hearing is scheduled for May 25, 2023.