OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Remedies are coming for the nearly 300,000 Oklahomans impacted by CVS/Caremark’s decision to do away with 90-day and mail order pharmacy benefits, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready announced Thursday.
Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) filed an administrative action against Caremark for alleged violations of “steering patients” to CVS pharmacies and prescription mail-order services.
While the OID 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.
According to the agency, CVS/Caremark initially did take corrective action, but did not make changes to the communication that went out to Oklahomans.
That lack of clarification caused state lawmakers to hold a press conference, demanding answers from the pharmacy chain.
“Let me be as direct as I know how to be,” said House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R- Oklahoma City. “The state of Oklahoma did not get rid of the ability to fill 90-day prescriptions. Anyone that says that is not misinformed, they don’t misunderstand. They are intentionally lying to you and we’re not going to stand for it.”
A hearing is set for May 25, where OID says it will seek to censure, suspend, place on probation or revoke the Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) license of Caremark. In addition, OID says the department will seek restitution and/or levy fines for each alleged violation.
“Caremark had already been disciplined, called on the carpet, if you will, by us and fined millions of dollars… If they’re still doing the same thing, what else do you do except take some drastic action? And that’s what we’ve done,” Mulready told KFOR in April.
Since the administrative action filing, OID has been in discussions with large client employers like AT&T, Southwest Airlines and Phillips 66, as well as CVS/Caremark to find solutions.
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Now, the OID says CVS/Caremark now has a plan in place to allow 90-day and mail order options for at least 80% of the plans by July.
“I am encouraged by the recent change of course and focus of Caremark to develop a plan with their employer groups that will resolve the current issues facing many Oklahomans,” Mulready said. “We have met with their leadership, and I am committed to making sure this plan becomes a reality. We were originally informed that solutions would not be available until March of 2024, so we look forward to this resolution taking place in the coming months.”
CVS/Caremark issued the following statement following the announcement:
We appreciate the productive conversations we have had with the Commissioner and OID regarding our work to provide a solution compatible with changes to Oklahoma law, offering access to 90-day prescriptions for the Oklahomans we serve. We are working closely with our clients impacted by this issue to ensure a successful rollout of this solution in the near future.