How has CVS Caremark responded to investigations by federal and state authorities into the drugstore chain's refill practices? One of its first steps apparently has been to pass the buck to employees.
CVS reportedly has required some pharmacy workers to sign papers attesting to the fact that they know patients must give approval before being enrolled in the company's automatic refill program, ReadyFill.
Other workers have been orally instructed by supervisors to no longer sign people up for ReadyFill without permission, according to two pharmacists who asked that their names be withheld because of fear they could lose their jobs.
The pharmacists said they're concerned CVS management is trying to make them scapegoats for submitting claims to insurers and signing up people for ReadyFill without authorization.
They said that even though the company insists such actions are against official policy, pharmacy workers have been pressured by supervisors to meet quotas for refills and ReadyFill enrollments.
"Store employees were just following management guidance out of fear of losing their job or being reassigned elsewhere," one pharmacist said.
CVS is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as regulators in California and New Jersey.
Mike DeAngelis, a CVS spokesman, acknowledged that "we recently communicated with our pharmacy teams to reiterate the process for enrolling prescriptions into our ReadyFill program."
He said such communications are made "from time to time to confirm that our programs are being implemented as they were designed."