Judge won't drop whistleblower suit against CVS Caremark

A federal judge has denied Aetna's bid to derail a whistleblower suit against CVS Caremark that alleges the pharmacy benefit manager overbilled Medicare by more than $1 billion for prescription drugs, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Aetna, the insurer that recently merged with CVS, has been fighting in court to suppress records that show CVS gouged Medicaid and Medicare, according to the whistleblower.

Sarah Behnke, former chief Medicare actuary for Aetna, filed the whistleblower suit in 2014. She claims that her internal investigation found that CVS was billing the federal government and Aetna, at the time, much more for drugs than it was paying pharmacists.

Aetna has been working to suppress documents Ms. Behnke might use to support her suit against CVS.

A federal judge in Philadelphia denied Aetna's demand that Ms. Behnke return "all of Aetna's records that are attorney-client privileged, attorney work product, or confidential and proprietary business information, and destroy copies of all such records."

Although the suit was filed in 2014, in May 2018, six months after Aetna announced its merger with CVS, the insurer began demanding Ms. Behnke return the documents, according to the report.

"While we don't comment on legal proceedings, CVS Health complies with all applicable laws and CMS regulations related to the Medicare Part D program," CVS/Aetna spokesperson Micheal DeAngelis told the Dispatch. "Also, contrary to these false allegations and to the Dispatch's continued one-sided coverage, CVS Health is committed to helping both patients and payers with solutions to lower their prescription drug costs."

Read the full report here.

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