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CVS runs a large pharmacy benefit manager. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A document from CVS Caremark shines another small ray of light on how pharmacy benefit managers work within the prescription drug chain.

The big picture: The language is pretty standard and not controversial on its own, according to several lawyers who reviewed the document. But it reinforces the lack of transparency that exists even in taxpayer-subsidized drug programs like Medicare Part D.

The details: The document, obtained from a person who works in the pharmacy industry, is an amendment to an agreement between CVS Caremark and an outside pharmacy. It's related to Medicare Part D, the $95 billion prescription drug program. The amendment outlines what a pharmacy should do in the event the federal government audits any Part D records tied to CVS.

The pharmacy should:

  • Let CVS know when the feds come knocking.
  • Allow CVS to review the records the government wants to see, before sending them to the feds.
  • Label all the confidential stuff as proprietary and exempt from federal open records law.

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the amendment was made to stay in lockstep with federal regulations, and that "it simply describes commonplace procedures used by companies of all industries, including the health care industry, to protect their proprietary information."

The bottom line: Companies obviously want to protect trade secrets, and this language more or less addresses that in a specific instance. But these kinds of situations become more complicated when information, such as contract details for a large taxpayer-funded program, can't be obtained under federal open records law.

Go deeper: The financial interests of PBMs.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.