Rite Aid settles patient consultation lawsuit

Rite Aid recently agreed to pay $498,250 to settle charges that some of its California pharmacists frequently did not provide patient consultations required by law.

The lawsuit was brought by the state Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection, the Riverside, Alameda County, and San Diego District Attorneys’ Offices, and the California State Board of Pharmacy (CSBP).

According to the lawsuit, Rite Aid pharmacists throughout California routinely failed to comply with CSBP’s rules requiring pharmacist consultations when customers received new prescriptions or new dosages of existing prescriptions.

“Pharmacist consultations are imperative to safeguard that prescriptions have been filled according to a doctor’s order, as well as to advise the patient of proper and safe usage of the medication,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley. “My office remains dedicated to ensuring that the public has access to knowledge and education regarding the use of all prescription drugs.”

In 2011, CSBP took its concerns to state investigators that some pharmacy chains were not providing the required consultations. The district attorneys subsequently conducted undercover investigations.

Rite Aid did not admit any guilt. However, as terms of the settlement, the chain agreed to implement an internal compliance program, and pay investigative costs of $78,250 and civil penalties totaling $420,000.

The three counties reached a similar agreement with CVS last year. In that case, CVS agreed to pay $658,000 and to implement an internal compliance program.

Mark Lowery, Content Editor (July 11, 2014). Rite Aid settles patient consultation lawsuit. Drug Topics.