New York’s attorney general is suing CVS Health, alleging the healthcare company violated antitrust laws and forced safety-net hospitals to forgo millions in drug savings that are part of a federal discount program.
CVS said in a statement that the “allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that CVS told eligible hospitals and providers they must go through CVS-owned Wellpartner if they want to collect savings under the 340B drug discount program from patient prescriptions filled at CVS pharmacies.
Wellpartner is a 340B third-party administrator and helps hospitals process and obtain the federal discounts. CVS acquired Wellpartner in 2017.
“When powerful corporations undermine the health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities in New York, they can expect to hear from my office,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
The lawsuit calls on the court to issue an injunction against the alleged anticompetitive practices and an order for CVS to divest Wellpartner.
The drug discount program has attracted scrutiny over the years as some lawmakers and the drug lobby have questioned whether the savings generated are used to help patients as the program is intended.
More recently, hospitals secured a legal victory in the fight over payment changes made by federal regulators.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of hospitals in June in a unanimous decision. The justices said HHS’ changes to payment rates under the 340B drug discount program were unlawful.