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US: New antitrust woes headed for CVS

 |  November 11, 2014

Just weeks after reports emerged that lawyers were investigating whether CVS violated antitrust law by refusing to accept Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems, the pharmacy chain is facing new antitrust threats.

Reports say the Federal Trade Commission has been asked to investigate CVS Health Corp’s new policy that imposes fees on consumers who fill prescriptions at rival pharmacies that also sell tobacco. CVS implemented a tobacco-free policy in its stores.

The American Antitrust Institute is recommending that the FTC probe the matter and that, while the tobacco-free stores as positive for public health, the co-pays imposed on consumers with CVS Caremark-administered insurance could constitute anticompetitive exclusion.

According to reports, consumers could have to pay a co-pay of up to $15 every time they fill prescriptions at a pharmacy that also sells tobacco products.

AAI President Albert Foer said the policy is flirting with antitrust violation “History suggests that the new CVS Caremark co-pay may be a smokescreen designed to disadvantage rivals. The pharmacy behemoth has been the target of persistent allegations of anticompetitive abuses seemingly quite similar to its new co-pay policy.”

Full content: Corporate Crime Reporter and Bloomberg

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