Texas-Sized Troubles for CVS Caremark

By Kevin Schweers

Last week we highlighted an extraordinary TV exposé on CVS Caremark abuses resulting from the mega-merger of retail pharmacy chain CVS with pharmacy benefit manager Caremark. Last night, a Houston TV station upped the ante with a remarkable 5+ minute story on the problems the merger produced in the Lone Star State.

Meanwhile, our friends at the Texas Pharmacy Business Council joined the Texas Alliance of Retired Americans in urging the state’s Teacher Retirement System to reconsider its pharmacy benefits agreement with CVS Caremark. Read their letter here.

Here’s an excerpt from the KHOU-TV story, which you can watch here.

Mega healthcare merger may put patients at risk

MAGNOLIA, Texas — From a shed behind his Magnolia home, Lonnie Butzske sews and donates quilts to area hospitals, bringing comfort and warmth to the sick.

But now he says he’s the one out in the cold.

“They’re controlling my life and killing me, because I can’t afford the medications the doctors have put me on to keep me alive,” Butzske said.

He’s talking about CVS, the drug store chain with thousands of locations across the United States. His wife, Peggy Butzske, said it all started with a simple letter telling them:

“(We) had to go to CVS, and that’s when all hell broke loose,” she said.

So, who was that letter from? The company that just had merged with CVS Caremark. It’s a massive firm that manages pharmacy benefits for thousands of companies, and in turn, millions of Americans. But the 11 News Defenders discovered this new mega company faces mounting complaints about unfair competition, overcharging taxpayers, and putting the elderly at risk.

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