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Kaiser Shrugs Off CVS Decision To Reject Prescription Cards.

Kaiser Permanente said CVS Corp.'s refusal to accept its members' prescription cards will be only a "minor inconvenience."

The pharmacy chose to exit the managed-care company's prescription plan because it felt Kaiser's reimbursements were too low.

The drug chain rejected contract offers set forth by Kaiser's new pharmacy-benefits manager, MedImpact Healthcare Systems, said Susan Whyte Simon, a spokeswoman for Kaiser's Mid-Atlantic division. MedImpact replaced the company's previous pharmacy-benefits manager, CVS-owned PharmaCare, she said.

CVS' decision affects about 8,000 Kaiser members in the Mid-Atlantic region, or about 2% of its total membership of 540,000 in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

In addition, CVS followed up with a series of newspaper ads accusing Kaiser of having an unfair policy.

Beverly Hayon, a manager of national relations for Kaiser, said CVS' tactics followed "a trend among vendors of taking very aggressive and negative action when they are not able to negotiate a contract with a large entity"

CVS also stopped accepting Kaiser prescription cards in Kaiser's Northeast Ohio division, said Eileen Sheil, manager of media relations for Kaiser Ohio.

She said CVS used "very cheap tactics," including running newspaper ads and posting in-store signs urging Kaiser members to change their health plans. The decision affects about 600 members in Ohio, Shell said.

The displaced members can buy prescription drugs at about 1,900 other pharmacies, including Kmart, RiteAid, Target, Giant and Safeway. They also can go to one of Kaiser's 24 medical facilities or can refill prescriptions through Kaiser's mail-order system.
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Publication:Best's Review
Date:May 1, 2000
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