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CVS, America's Largest Pharmacy Chain, Pays Nearly $37 Million to Settle Federal and State Generic Drug Switching Charges
Date:3/18/2008

A COMPLETE NEWS RELEASE is available at

http://www.pharmacyfraudsettlement.com with filed documents, fraud allegations, applicable federal law, and information about the qui tam

whistleblower attorneys in this case. ABOUT PHARMACISTS: As front line professionals dispensing medications to Medicaid beneficiaries pharmacists are particularly well suited to discover

and report Medicaid fraud, which is noted in the site.

CHICAGO, March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Corporation, which claims to be America's largest pharmacy chain, has paid nearly $37 million to settle the nation's first retail pharmacy drug switching case. CVS allegedly charged the government up to 400 percent more for Medicaid patients by illegally changing generic Zantac(R) prescriptions from tablets to higher priced capsules, according to a multi-state complaint pursued by whistleblower attorneys Michael I. Behn and Linda Wyetzner.

The federal Complaint and Settlement Agreement unsealed today in the Northern District of Illinois stated that CVS garnered huge profits by evading federal and state price ceilings when it unlawfully switched dosage forms. Twenty-four states also entered separate settlements with the company, Behn and Wyetzner said.

The generic form of the antacid Zantac, ranitidine, typically comes in tablets. Given the drug's popularity, the government set maximum prices that Medicaid would pay for tablets, while infrequently prescribed ranitidine capsules had no maximum prices. When CVS switched patients' prescriptions from ranitidine tablets to the expensive capsules, it cost taxpayers up to 400 percent more, according to court documents.

This CVS case was pursued under federal and state False Claims Acts for more than five years by Illinois pharmacist Bernard Lisitza, the relator, and his Chicago attorneys, Behn and Wyetzner. "Bernie'
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