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    Bloomberg: CVS Accused in Suit of Selling Customer Data to Drugmakers

    Bloomberg reports on a lawsuit against CVS concerning patient privacy:

    CVS Caremark Corp., the largest U.S. provider of prescription drugs, was sued over claims it used confidential prescription information to push products on behalf of pharmaceutical makers.

    CVS violated the privacy and rights of consumers by sending letters to customers’ physicians that promoted specific medications, according to a complaint filed March 7 in state court in Philadelphia. CVS allegedly identified consumers by name, date of birth and medications taken, drawing on information obtained through CVS pharmacy services.

    CVS was paid for the promotion of competing drugs by Merck & Co., AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) and Bayer AG (BAYN), according to the complaint filed by Richboro, Pennsylvania, resident Arthur Steinberg and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund. […]

    CVS has been plagued by privacy concerns since its purchase of Caremark Rx Inc., a pharmacy-benefits manager, for about $22 billion in 2007. Steinberg’s suit follows a similar complaint filed in September by a group of Texas pharmacies accusing the company of violating privacy and racketeering laws.

    In February 2009, the company agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle federal charges its employees compromised customer privacy by throwing prescription records and drug bottles into open trash dumpsters. The payment to the government settled civil charges CVS violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the medical privacy law known as HIPAA.

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