Dispensing Returned Drugs and Turtles: Former Crime Fighter Dick Devine Wins Round One Against Drug Giant CVS/Caremark in Whistleblower Lawsuit

Friday, April 16, 2010 General News
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CHICAGO, April 15 Today, in a written Opinion, Judge Daniel J. Pierce of the Circuit Court of Cook County, denied prescription drug giant CVS/Caremark's Motion to Dismiss a multi-million dollar whistleblower lawsuit filed on behalf of the State of Illinois and arising out of CVS' provision of prescription drugs to State of Illinois employees. Dick Devine, currently a partner at the Chicago law firm of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson, and former Cook County State's Attorney, is lead counsel in that action filed by former employees of CVS/Caremark.

The whistleblower suit alleges that CVS/Caremark bilked the State of Illinois out of millions of dollars between 2002 and 2005 while the Company was acting as the prescription drug provider for thousands of State employees, retirees and their dependents.

The suit, which was originally filed under seal in 2003 while the Illinois Attorney General's Office investigated the allegations, was unsealed after settlement negotiations between CVS/Caremark and the Attorney General broke down. The Attorney General's Office then informed the Court that it was ceding the lead on litigation to Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson as a limited resources decision on its part.

The whistleblowers' allegations include claims that CVS/Caremark employees - using hot irons and other mechanisms - removed the labels from drugs that had been returned to the Company's other large mail order pharmacies throughout the country, and then shipped those returned drugs to Mount Prospect, Illinois where CVS/Caremark sold the drugs a second time - and profited twice. CVS/Caremark's Mount Prospect mail order pharmacy served as the primary dispensing point for State of Illinois employees.

The whistleblowers further allege that CVS/Caremark defrauded the State in a myriad of other ways, including calling up the doctors' offices of State of Illinois employees to illegally make changes to their prescriptions. The whistleblowers also claim that, at one of CVS/Caremark's mail order pharmacies, the Company's employees actually maintained and sold turtles while dishing up mail order prescription drugs from that site.

Today's Opinion by Judge Pierce rejected outright CVS/Caremark's attempts to derail the lawsuit, and allows the Whistleblowers to move forward with discovery. Devine stated, "The allegations speak for themselves. It will now be up to the jury to determine the extent of CVS/Caremark's culpability for fraud." The State of Illinois terminated its contract with CVS/Caremark in 2005, replacing it with CVS' rival, Medco.

Contact MBT: Devine encourages State of Illinois employees and retirees to contact Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson if they have information relating to the case at 312-474-7900.

SOURCE Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson

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