By Victoria Colliver, POLITICO PRO

November 12, 2021

DRUGSTORE DRAMA: CVS dropped its appeal of a California case involving prescription drug policies for HIV patients that was set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next month, a move that kicks the lawsuit back to the lower courts, POLITICO’s Victoria Colliver reports.

Five HIV-positive “John Does” sued CVS in 2018 in federal court in San Francisco over a new policy that required patients needing specialty medication to receive them by mail instead of at their local pharmacy. The plaintiffs argued the policy cuts off their access to pharmacists, who play a critical role in managing their care, and that it is discriminatory based on their disability.

CVS officials said they would work with disability groups to reach an agreement on policies that would provide “equitable access to health care" for all.

Jerry Flanagan, Consumer Watchdog’s litigation director and counsel of record for the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court action, commended CVS for abandoning the appeal. “Now, CVS should take the next step and ensure that people living with HIV have equal opportunity to access the same pharmacy benefits that other consumers receive,” he said.