HEALTH

CVS Caremark announces settlement of PSE sales suit

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. Under a settlement reached with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Central District of California and the District of Nevada, CVS Caremark has agreed to pay $75 million in civil penalties and $2.6 million in profit forfeitures to settle allegations that in 2007 and 2008, certain CVS/pharmacy stores in California and Nevada engaged in unlawful sales of pseudoephedrine.

CVS also must maintain certain compliance measures to monitor and prevent excessive sales of the ingredient found in popular over-the-counter cold-cough medicines. In addition, the settlement acknowledged that a distribution center in California failed to monitor and report excessive PSE sales by CVS/pharmacy stores; it related only to the retail pharmacy business.

“We are announcing today that we have resolved this issue, which unfortunately resulted from a breakdown in CVS/pharmacy’s normally high management and oversight standards,” stated Tom Ryan, chairman and CEO of CVS Caremark. “While this lapse occurred in 2007 and 2008, and has been addressed, it was an unacceptable breach of the company’s policies and was totally inconsistent with our values. CVS/pharmacy is unwavering in its support of the measures taken by the federal government and the states to prevent drug abuse. To make certain this kind of lapse never takes place again,” Ryan continued, “we have strengthened our internal controls and compliance measures, and made substantial investments to improve our handling and monitoring of PSE by implementing enhanced technology and making other improvements in our stores and distribution centers.”

The settlement does not impact any other business conducted by CVS or any of its affiliated companies. In addition, the settlement amount has been fully reserved, as previously disclosed, and should have no further effect on the company’s financial results, the company stated.

The settlement related to excessive sales of PSE at certain CVS/pharmacy locations that resulted from the flawed implementation of an electronic monitoring system to record individual PSE sales. As implemented in California, Nevada and certain other states, the system did not prevent multiple sales of PSE that totaled more than the federal daily legal limit, which made certain CVS/pharmacy stores vulnerable to criminals who intended to purchase large amounts of PSE. The excessive sales occurred primarily in California and Nevada. The settlement includes not only federal jurisdictions in California and Nevada, but also federal jurisdictions in 23 other states where the system was not implemented properly, CVS stated.

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BI, Latino Commission on AIDS launch website

BY Alaric DeArment

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. Drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim and the Latino Commission on AIDS have launched a website targeted at Latinos living with HIV, the two announced Thursday.

 

The website, MenteCuerpoHAART.com, is a Spanish-language version of an already existing English-language version, MindBodyHAART.com. The site is designed to help patients, their families and doctors understand issues affecting health care and treatment of HIV and find resources on prescribed medications and clinical trials, and communicate with medical providers.

 

 

“We face many health challenges in our communities,” Latino Commission on AIDS president Guillermo Chacon said. “It is important that we respond to the crisis of HIV/AIDS, perpetuated by the stigma, poverty, immigration status, fear, access to health care and barriers related to language.”

 

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Identigene introduces STD test kit

BY Michael Johnsen

SALT LAKE CITY Identigene on Thursday officially unveiled its Identigene STD test kit, which currently is available over the counter at Rite Aid.

Purchasers of the Identigene STD test kit can receive a highly accurate test result for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the more popular sexually transmitted diseases, within two to three business days of receipt of a urine specimen by the Identigene laboratory.

“As costs and wait times for health care continue to rise, people are increasingly looking to home diagnostics,” stated Steve Smith, executive director of Identigene. “The Identigene STD test kit is a confidential, convenient and cost-effective way for people to protect their privacy and help ensure their own sexual health, as well as that of their partners.”

Often, infected people don’t know they have contracted an STD that can harm them and others. “Symptoms may not be noticeable until the disease progresses and potentially causes more serious health concerns,” said Identigene’s medical director, Michael Rhode. “Early and regular STD testing can greatly reduce these risks and enable earlier, more effective treatment.”

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly testing for people who are sexually active, especially for pregnant women. Individuals who test positive using the Identigene STD test kit should consult with their doctor or may ask an Identigene consultant to help them find local medical treatment.

 

 

The CDC estimated that more than 1 million Americans ages 14 years to 39 years are infected with an STD each year. Untreated complications from chlamydia and gonorrhea can be severe and may include infertility or sterility. Women may get pelvic inflammatory disease and are five times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS if infected by chlamydia.

 

 

The Identigene STD kit retails for a suggested price of $19.99; the laboratory processing fee is $99.

 

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