Did pharmacy board give Walgreens special treatment?
APR 02, 2014 Drug Topics
By: Mark Lowery, Content Editor
WHO WANTS TO ANSWER THE “WHO BENEFITS?” QUESTION HERE?
That’s the charge being made by a government watchdog group and a labor federation, which alleges that the Indiana Board of Pharmacy in 2011 approved Walgreens’ new pharmacy design with the help of the former board president who is employed by the drug chain.
Indiana was the first state to approve Walgreens’ new Well Experience pharmacy layout, which moves pharmacists from the back of the pharmacy to a desk closer to customers. At the time of the approval, William J. Cover, RPh, was president of the state pharmacy board. He is employed by Walgreens as its corporate manager of pharmacy affairs.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation into alleged patient-privacy violations at Walgreens, following complaints that the chain’s new pharmacy design is putting sensitive patient information at risk.
Common Cause Indiana and the labor group Change to Win have filed an ethics complaint with the Indiana inspector general’s office, claiming that Cover’s involvement with the decision to allow Walgreens to proceed with its new design violated the Indiana ethics code. The redesign of Walgreens pharmacies throughout Indiana was a $100 million project.
And the Indianapolis Star has published emails in which Cover seemed to serve as a liaison between board members and Walgreens officials. The emails are from 2011 and showed Cover connected state regulators with Walgreen officials months before the remodeling project became public.