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New York AG Sues CVS For Violating Antitrust Laws

 |  July 28, 2022

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Thursday filed a lawsuit against CVS Health alleging that the company had violated antitrust laws and forced New York safety net hospitals to exclusively use a company that it owns when filling prescriptions through its pharmacies.

In her suit, James alleges that CVS is carrying out an “anticompetitive scheme” by forcing safety net hospitals within the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program to purchase administrative services through one of its subsidiaries, Wellpartner LLC.

CVS allegedly required these hospitals to purchase services through Wellpartner, a third-party administrator (TPA) that it owns, if they wished to process 340B-eligible prescriptions through CVS pharmacies. This requirement was purportedly put in place after the pharmacy chain purchased Wellpartner in 2017.

The 340B Drug Pricing Program was created in 1992 and allowed safety net hospitals to buy outpatient drugs at a discount from manufacturers. These hospitals largely serve vulnerable communities where patients may not otherwise be able to afford medications.

According to James, CVS forced these hospitals to use its administrative service provider and caused them to either “forgo substantial savings from the 340B program” or lose out on savings they could have gained from using another service, noting there were benefits of having a choice of service providers in a “fully competitive” market.

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