Bryan Cohen Feb. 26, 2013, 7:05pm

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced an agreement Monday with CVS-Caremark to resolve pharmacy errors that occurred at five separate CVS pharmacies.

The CVS pharmacies in Budd Lake, Scotch Plains, Rahway, Cherry Hill and Chatham mistakenly commingled pills with very different medical effects. Because of the mistakes, some patients received pill bottles with the wrong medication.

"The Division of Consumer Affairs launched an immediate inquiry to ascertain the facts, and potential harm to consumers, of a pill dispensing error at the CVS in Chatham - and soon learned about similar incidents at a total of five CVS pharmacies across New Jersey, all within a short span of time," Chiesa said. "In order to protect the public and prevent these errors from happening again, the Division pushed CVS to work with us on an effective solution. As a result, CVS has already begun to enhance its quality and safety assurance measures, and has agreed to contribute $650,000 toward a Division of Consumer Affairs education and enforcement campaign on prescription drug safety and abuse."

Under the terms of the agreement, CVS will pay $650,000 to the DCA, in part, to fund a public education campaign to advise New Jerseyans to check their medication, ask pharmacists or physicians medication questions, check resources to learn more about prescriptions and to make the public aware of prescription drug abuse dangers. CVS will also enhance the oversight and quality assurance measures at its New Jersey pharmacies, provide additional resources to consumers to check for prescription accuracy and retrain its staff members.

Between December 2011 and January 2012, a CVS pharmacy in Chatham mistakenly gave out pill bottles with a breast cancer treatment drug to patients with prescriptions for tablets of children's chewable fluoride a total of 15 times. The DCA then looked into other incidents at CVS pharmacies in which pills were inappropriately commingled.

Chiesa said that CVS showed a commitment to develop and implement enhanced strategies to prevent the mistakes that led to these and other incidents.

CVS admitted no liability for the medication errors as part of the agreement.

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