Independent pharmacy says CVS trying to grind it into dust, sues

Hopkinton's only drugstore is suing CVS, alleging the national pharmacy giant is trying to muscle into the town by cutting off a key part of its business.

In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court, Hopkinton Drug alleges the CVS wing that administers pharmacy benefits for many employers is refusing to do any more business with the store as part of an "unlawful civil conspiracy" with the CVS wing that runs retail outlets, in an attempt to break into the Hopkinton pharmacy market.

The store says it addressed all the issues raised in a 2013 audit by CVS, related to sales of compounded drugs in states in which the store wasn't licensed - won an arbitrator's decision that CVS repay $700,000 it had withheld pending the completion of that audit.

Hopkinton Drug says roughly 28% of its business comes from patients in plans for which CVS provides pharmacy benefits and that without the business, it will have to lay off nearly half its 48 workers. The store says state law requires pharmacy-benefits managers to offer contracts to all pharmacies willing to meet its standard terms, which Hopkinton says it is.

Hopkinton Drug alleges "unlawful civil conspiracy" by the two CVS subsidiaries because the pharmacy, founded in 1954, refuses to sell its location to CVS and the chain has been unable to find another location in the normally quiet town in which to open up shop.

Hopkinton Drug is seeking injunctions that would force CVS to resume its contract and knock off the attempts to drive it out of business - plus treble damages and lawyers' fees.

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    Comments

    CVS and Walgreens

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    Operate as an oligarchy. Do we even have viable anti-trust laws anymore? This pattern is also repeated across other industries.

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    yet

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    CVS is the top pharmacy chain that dispenses opiates! No other chain comes even close, except Walgreens which is a distant second.

    HMMMM

    I haven't seen a RiteAid or

    I haven't seen a RiteAid or an Osco in a long time. Does Boston still have any?

    I miss Pelham. They used to make tuna & liver flavored veterinary meds for dogs & cats, and they delivered same day.

    Revere, Medford, Somerville, Everett

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    There's two in Revere. One on Broadway (opened as an Osco in 1995) and in the shopping center where Johnnies Save-A-Lot was on Squire Road in Linden Square.

    There's also one in Medford (a former Brooks/Osco) at 467 Salem Street (next to Stop & Shop (ex Johnnies)

    There's two in Somerville. One next to the old Star on Broadway (opened as an Osco) and on Somerville Ave near Conway Park (Opened as an Osco)

    And finally, there's one in Everett Square on Broadway in Everett (was a former Star)

    PS - Yes I despise Walgreens and CVS so I know where the alternatives is. I always had better luck and faster service at Rite Aid.

    Then again, I'd go to Walgreens across the street (in Revere) an it's a two hour wait because its so popular, vs in and out of Rite Aid because you could blow wind thru the place because everyone was at Walgreens.

    Glad they're all still around...

    …but I wish I had one closer to me. My biggest problem with CVS is the price gouging; I find that basics are more than I used to pay at Osco when I lived near one. I suspected this but then Consumer Reports bore me out-- CVS is has poorer service & is consistently higher priced than other drug chains.

    PS--this isn't even the complete list, just what I could get in a screenshot. Columns are for speed, service, & pharmacist knowledge
    https://flic.kr/p/nUaRw5

    And
    https://flic.kr/p/nUaSr3

    I have that issue

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    somewhere.. ( <3 my CR Mag)

    CVS does suck and inflate their prices.

    However, the Extra Care program does make it worth it.. kinda. Like I got a 20 dollar gas card last weekend and a 7 dollar Extra-Care coupon yesterday for my end of quarter payout. (along with my weekly 20% email-only weekend-ly coupon), and more. I'm always getting dead sea scroll line of coupons when i check out, but I shop at CVS alot so I get the rewards.

    And some sales aren't that bad. I find the food/home good sales to be about the same as Market Basket regular prices (yes really) add a coupon(s) and its often a good deal. However, I find the HBA's at CVS to be more expensive than Market Basket so I seldom get that stuff at CVS (which is ironic because CVS's original store foundation was in HBA's, and not a Pharmacy!)

    Rite Aid is my local pharmacy

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    Yes. There's one near Bowdoin, in Somerville at Davis Square and Winter Hill, in Cambridgeport, and in South Boston, among a handful of others in the area.

    Try Sudbury Pharmacy in

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    Try Sudbury Pharmacy in Sudbury, MA. they've been great with my compounds

    There's a Rite Aid in

    There's a Rite Aid in Somerville. Winter Hill to be exact. In fact the Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS are all blocks from each other.

    3 in Somerville

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    There are actually three Rite Aid stores in Somerville currently.

    One on Highland Ave in Davis Square. A second one on Somerville Ave near Central St. The third is on Broadway in Winter Hill by the old Star Market.

    Hey Adam

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    I'm afraid I can't quite understand the complaint... Can someone summarize for me? I think it has to do with CVS rejecting employee health benefits? I just don't get the A to B to C here.

    CVS Caremark has multiple

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    CVS Caremark has multiple parts of their business:

    CVS - the store you walk into that has a pharmacy in the back

    Caremark - a pharmacy benefits administrator that processes pharmacy claims for insurance companies.

    The idea is that if the Caremark side of the company refuses to do business with the independent pharmacy, people in Hopkinton with insurance plans that use Caremark as a PBM will have no choice but to go to the CVS pharmacy in town.

    I have no idea of the details of the case, but that seems to be the argument.

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    More expansive than that

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    Hopkinton Drug does a lot of out-of-town and even out-of-state business because it does a lot of compounding. It alleges the insurance people are refusing to pay for that anymore as collusion with the real-estate people who figure that if the store goes out of business, they can swoop into Hopkinton.

    At least, according to the complaint, which, yeah, I read.

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    Not surprising

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    A few years ago CVS Caremark pharmacy benefits were not accepted at Walgreens. I can't remember why but my roommate was bullshit about it since the closet pharmacy was a Walgreens, and not a CVS.

    It really blows that its like this. I wish federal regulators didn't over look the BIG conflict of interest when Caremark merged with CVS. Because this is exactly what would (and did) happen.

    the "CVS wing that

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    the "CVS wing that administers pharmacy benefits for many employers is refusing to do any more business with the store"
    In essence, one part of CVS corporation (not the stores) that manages employee benefits for companies is saying they won't work with this independent pharmacy.

    Crap....

    I use Hopkinton Drug for my compounded thyroid medication, and this whole issue disturbs me. Its sad CVS has become such a huge bully...

    The CVS sinkhole in West Roxbury

    And is it just me, or does the CVS on Centre Street just seriously bite the big one? I witnessed a mother waiting for gasp penicillin for her child for THREE FREAKING HOURS. Simply. Unacceptable.

    Healthcare is gonna kill us one day.....

    They've, on multiple

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    They've, on multiple occasions, put the wrong amount of pills in my girlfriend's migraine prescriptions and then act like she's some addict when she calls them to complain. They also didn't switch my anti-depressant medicine when I expicitly told them to, didn't let me return it, and then tried to charge me for the new prescription. It's disgusting that they're allowed to fill prescriptions with their absolute lack of care.

    This was all at Magoun Square, my girlfriend switched her prescriptions to Davis Square thinking it would be better, but they pull the same shit there! This is what happens when you have your interns/pharmacy techs running the show.

    It has been an adventure with Hop Drug

    We live in Hopkinton and dealing with Hop Drug for my wife's compounding has certainly been an adventure. I didn't know the details until Adam reached way out here into the boonies for this post. So, thanks, Adam.