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CVS to Pay $1.95M for Using Pharmacists with Expired Licenses

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2010

CVS/pharmacy has reportedly agreed to pay Indiana $1.95 million to settle complaints that two pharmacists with long-expired licenses had dispensed more than 60,000 prescriptions at two stores, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced this week.

Indiana prosecutors said in a media release that between 1997 and 2007, CVS employed two pharmacists whose licenses had expired: Morris "Mo" Skirvin at a store in Nashville, IN, and Edward Certain at a store in Marion, IN.

The Indiana AG's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigation reported that Skirvin's pharmacist license expired in 1990, long before his employer, Hook-SupeRx, was acquired by CVS, but he did not renew the license and allegedly forged a new one each renewal period.

After MFCU began investigating Skirvin's license, CVS disclosed that another pharmacist, Certain, also had been practicing without a license. Certain had a valid license at one time, but it expired in 2002 and he did not renew it, MFCU reported.

Together, Skirvin and Certain filled an estimated 60,778 prescriptions, the investigation alleged, and the Indiana Medicaid program was overbilled for fees to which the unlicensed pharmacists were not entitled, prosecutors said.

"To its credit, CVS has resolved this situation in a responsible way," Zoeller said. "First, it came forward and acknowledged that a pharmacist with an expired license had been employed at its Marion store. Now, CVS will implement a screening program to ensure that none of its pharmacist employees are operating without a license."

CVS issued a statement reiterating much of what the AG said. "There have been no allegations that any customers were harmed in any way as a result of the employment of these individuals, who ceased employment with CVS/pharmacy in 2007. There have also been no complaints or issues raised by any customers. There is no admission or finding of wrongdoing by CVS/pharmacy related to these allegations and the company entered into this agreement to avoid the delay expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of litigation," CVS said.

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