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Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

The basics: Health insurers usually negotiate "lesser of" contracts with drug benefits middlemen — meaning they pay the negotiated drug price or the cash price that uninsured patients would pay, whichever is lower.

  • However, the Blue Cross Blue Shield companies allege CVS offered lower cash prices on generic drugs to compete with Walmart and other low-cost pharmacies, but told insurers those cash prices were significantly higher than they actually were.
  • CVS' goal, the BCBS insurers argue, was to force them to pay the highest rates possible.
  • For example, people enrolled in CVS' cash discount program in 2015 got a 90-day supply of blood pressure medication nadolol for $11.99. But CVS told BCBS of Florida that the cash price was $180.99 and overcharged $169 as a result, according to court documents.

Between the lines: This same issue, allegedly overcharging for generic drugs, has marred CVS for years now.

  • The original class-action lawsuit, filed in 2015, is supposed to go to trial this year. Unions have also filed class-action lawsuits.
  • CVS "is defending itself against these claims," the company has said in financial filings.

Go deeper: Read the lawsuit and examples of drugs that were allegedly overcharged.

Go deeper

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

3 hours ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.