David Lazarus: CVS customers say prescription refills weren’t OKd

Consumer columnist David Lazarus has been hearing complaints from CVS customers that their prescriptions are being filled without their permission.

Lazarus and Business Editor Marla Dickerson will discuss his stories on the topic in a live video chat at 3 p.m. today. They would like to know if this has happened to you. To participate in the conversation, leave your comments below.

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Lazarus reported last week about confidential emails from a CVS supervisor in New Jersey instructing pharmacists there to refill prescriptions and submit claims to insurers without people’s approval.

CVS acknowledged the legitimacy of the emails but said the unauthorized refills were limited to about 50 East Coast pharmacists and that the supervisor involved wasn’t following company policy.

But Lazarus’ reporting has found that the unauthorized refills are happening in California too.

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said company policy “specifically directs pharmacists that they should obtain patient approval” prior to filling prescriptions.

“It is not our policy to refill prescriptions without a patient’s authorization,” DeAngelis said.

Virginia Herold, executive officer of the California Board of Pharmacy, which licenses pharmacies and pharmacists, said her agency would investigate CVS if a sufficient number of complaints about unauthorized refills were lodged by consumers. This can be done online at


Don’t need that prescription? Here it is anyway

CVS customers say prescription refills weren’t OKd

David Lazarus’ column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send tips or feedback to