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CVS Mailing to Patients' Doctors Sparks Allegations of Privacy Violations

Mailout, Paid for by Merck and Co, Allegedly Promoted Diabetes Drug

The pharmacy benefits unit of the drugstore chain CVS is being accused of violating customer privacy in order to sell diabetes medications. The Change to Win Coalition - a group of 7 unions that represent about 6 million workers combined, alleges that Caremark undertook a mailing paid for by Merck, the maker of Januvia, that targeted doctors in an attempt to get them to switch their patients to Januvia.

The patients whose physicians were targeted by the mail out were only taking metformin, an old and inexpensive diabetes medication. According to the Change To Win coalition, Januvia is a good deal more expensive, ranging anywhere from 5 to 11 times more than other diabetes medications currently available. A spokesperson for the coalition said the letter raises serious questions about the way in which CVS uses personal patient information, as well as issues around accountability and bias towards certain drugs.

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Published on Nov-17-08


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