CVS Caremark-Settlement

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Pharmacy chain CVS Caremark Corporation has agreed to pay almost $37 million to the federal government, 23 states and the District of Columbia to settle claims it billed Medicaid programs for a more expensive formulation of an antacid.

The investigation began more than five years ago after a suburban Chicago pharmacist alerted authorities.

Attorneys say Rhode Island-based CVS gave Medicaid patients Ranitidine capsules instead of less expensive tablets. The drug is a generic version of the heartburn medication Zantac.

Authorities say the switch is illegal and allowed the company to charge state Medicaid programs more and reap a bigger profit.

Lawyers say CVS admits no wrongdoing in the case. The settlement was announced Tuesday.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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