Judge refuses to dismiss defamation lawsuit against CVS

October 16, 2015

A judge has ruled that a doctor’s defamation lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy can proceed, denying the chain’s argument that alleged comments from pharmacy employees were protected by a recognized privilege.

A judge has ruled that a doctor’s defamation lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy can proceed, denying the chain’s argument that alleged comments from pharmacy employees were protected by a recognized privilege.

In June, Redouane Goulmamine, MD, filed a $20 million defamation lawsuit against CVS. Goulmamine alleges that some employees of CVS pharmacies in Virginia told his patients that he overprescribed painkillers and was being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The chain also refused to fill his prescriptions.

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CVS attempted to quash the lawsuit, but U.S. District Judge Robert Payne of the Eastern District of Virginia recently denied most of the arguments in CVS’ motion to dismiss.

Goulmamine operates The Spine Center in Petersburg, Va. He specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation musculoskeletal-spinal medicine, and provides pain management services for his patients. In October 2014, CVS sent Goulmamine a letter questioning his prescribing patterns.

A March 2015 follow-up letter to Goulmamine stated: “Despite our attempts to resolve the concerns with your controlled substance prescribing patterns these concerns persist. Thus, we are writing to inform you that effective March 24, 2015, CVS/pharmacy stores will no longer be able to fill prescriptions that you write for controlled substances.”

According to Goulmamine’s lawsuit, several CVS pharmacy employees made defamatory remarks about him before and after the chain stopped filling his prescriptions for controlled substances.

 

One patient was allegedly told by a pharmacist “He [Dr. Goulmamine] is being investigated for writing too many pill prescriptions.”

Another CVS pharmacy employee allegedly told one of the doctor’s patients “we will not fill his prescriptions anymore” and “you shouldn’t be taking these pills.” And on March 30, 2015, a CVS employee allegedly told one of Goulmamine’s patients “I would advise you to find another doctor; your doctor isn’t going to be in business much longer.”

Goulmamine said all of the statements allegedly made by CVS employees are false. “If CVS had ever done any rudimentary investigation into Dr. Goulmamine and The Spine Center or had ever called him directly, it would have known that all of its statements about him were not true,” the lawsuit states. “No other local pharmacy has had any similar concerns about filling Dr. Goulmamine’s pain prescriptions and certainly has not made any similarly defamatory statements about him.”

CVS has denied that it made defamatory statements regarding Goulmamine to his patients.