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CVS Pharmacy Settlement Results in $650K Payment, Improved Oversight

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CVS has agreed to pay $650,000 and promised to improve the quality of oversight to settle claims brought by the state of New Jersey, which alleged that the pharmacy repeatedly gave patients the wrong drugs, sometimes placing them in danger. 

The allegations stem from an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, which announced the agreement in a press release on February 25.

According to a report by the agency, dozens of prescription errors were made at five CVS pharmacy locations in New Jersey, including Budd Lake, Chatham, Cherry Hill, Rahway, and Scotch Plains.

A prescription error at a Chatham CVS led to the initial investigation. According to the state’s review, the CVS pharmacy at 471 Main Street in Chatham distributed 15 prescription bottles of fluoride pills for children that also included Tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug that can cause cognitive problems and memory loss. The medication mistakes occurred between December 20, 2011 and February 20, 2012.

“The Division of Consumer Affairs launched an immediate inquiry to ascertain the facts, and potential harm to consumers, of a pill dispensing error at the CVS in Chatham – and soon learned about similar incidents at a total of five CVS pharmacies across New Jersey, all within a short span of time,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in the press release. “In order to protect the public and prevent these errors from happening again, the Division pushed CVS to work with us on an effective solution.”

Other New Jersey CVS drug mix-ups included putting pills for the high blood pressure drug metoprolol into bottles with Risperdal, an antipsychotic; and giving a patient the cholesterol drug pravastatin when they were supposed to receive the diabetes drug metaformin.

In addition to agreeing to pay $650,000, CVS has promised to retrain staff at all of its New Jersey pharmacies, create new procedures for using automated filling machines to fill prescriptions and put into place other new quality assurance measures.

The company’s $650,000 will fund a public awareness campaign in New Jersey on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the proper use of prescription drugs, and repays the state the cost of the investigation.

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