- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2001

CVS Corp. will pay $4 million to settle accusations that it submitted false prescription claims to government health insurance programs, the Justice Department announced yesterday.

CVS and Revco Drugstores Inc., a pharmacy chain CVS bought in 1997, were accused of dispensing partial prescriptions due to insufficient stock, but billing government health insurance programs for the full quantities prescribed for beneficiaries of the government health insurance programs.

The programs included Medicaid, Tricare Management Activity and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said the retail pharmacy giant, based in Rhode Island, agreed to pay a total of $4 million to the federal government, the District of Columbia and 20 states, including Maryland and Virginia.

The settlement covers the period from Jan. 1, 1988, to June 1, 1997.

Miss Talamona said a portion of the settlement amount settles a complaint brought against Revco by Marion Tucker Altman Jr. in the South Carolina. Mr. Altman will receive $131,346.

CVS officials said pharmacies partially fill prescriptions when they do not have enough of a medication on hand. The company said customers are told to pick up the rest of their prescriptions when they are available, but that customers sometimes don't.

"Unfortunately, in those instances in the past, state and federal health programs may have been mistakenly billed for a full prescription," the company said in a statement.

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