FINANCE

CVS Caremark to Settle Medicaid Fraud Case

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago Authorities investigating a Medicaid fraud case involving CVS Caremark Corp. said Tuesday the CVS Caremark has agreed to pay almost $37 million to nearly two dozen states and the federal government. The payment is in settlement of claims that CVS Caremark billed Medicaid programs for a more expensive formulation of an antacid.

The settlement in the case—the first of its kind for a retail pharmacy company—came after a lengthy investigation that began in 2001, when a suburban Chicago pharmacist alerted authorities.

Attorneys said the nation’s largest pharmacy chain gave Medicaid patients capsules of Ranitidine, a generic version of the heartburn medication Zantac, instead of even less-expensive tablets. Both generic versions of the medication have the same active ingredient.

Authorities said the switch is illegal and allowed the company to charge state Medicaid programs more than four times as much for each pill, leading to a bigger profit.

Woonsocket, R.I-based CVS has admitted no wrongdoing in the case.

CVS will pay the federal government about $21 million as part of the settlement. The remaining $15.6 million will be divided by Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

The company will also pay $800,000 for investigative costs and other fees, and agreed to sign a corporate-integrity agreement with federal authorities.

“Switching medication from tablets to capsules might seem harmless, but when that is done solely to increase profit and in violation of federal and state regulations that are designed to protect patients, pharmacies must know that they are subjecting themselves to the possibility of triple damages, civil penalties and attorney fees,” U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.

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The Great Indoors

BY CSA STAFF

Given environmental concerns and efforts to get consumers in the United States into the fresh air—where public health advocates hope they will get a little exercise—it is hardly surprising that natural motifs have become even more iconic.

American consumers like their home decor to reflect popular virtues, so natural looks have been moving indoors. The trend has been particularly apparent in domestics, where patterns and colors have reflected landscapes, forestscapes or desertscapes, and has become more evident in other categories that have a strong decorative element.

Gibson Overseas, at the Housewares Show, is introducing Organic Luxury, a line that incorporates these so-called eco-friendly design themes in patterns such as Stilwell, a graphic branch and leaf look (pictured), and Whisper Leaf, more abstract, yet still reliant on a natural device.

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It’S All Good in the Hoodie

BY CSA STAFF

When it comes to dressing kids, the juxtaposition between fashion and function couldn’t be more important. The apparel must fit the on-the-go lifestyle that’s filled with all sorts of acrobatics and appeal to the tastes of the youthful crowd.

The hoodie caters to both needs with perfection. A stable item for boys and girls, the new styles of hoodies go beyond the typical sweatshirt. Brands like Levi’s (pictured) and Dickies have rolled out new collections that add flair with embroidery, applique, thermal lining and details in pockets and collars. Designers found no limit in rolling out hundreds of styles that will appeal to the pickiest kid on the block.

Thanks to its year-round appeal, the hoodie can carry over from season to season, growing especially popular for the back-to-school season.

Boys’ styles feature the use of plaid in the details, like in the lining of the hood or as a base for cut-out logos. Girls prefer more delicate embroidery and silver-foiled prints on the fabric.

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