National health care law firm WhatleyKallas is teaming up with Consumer Watchdog to bring lawsuits over mandatory mail-order drug programs that allegedly discriminate against HIV/AIDS patients.

Earlier this month, Edith Kallas and Alan Mansfield of WhatleyKallas and the nonprofit consumer advocacy group sued CVS Health in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of four anonymous plaintiffs. The suit, which seeks class action certification, claims that the pharmacy giant's insurance plan violates plaintiffs' privacy by forcing them to buy their HIV/AIDS medication at retail CVS stores or have them mailed to their home. A nearly identical suit was filed the same day in California's Central District trial court.

"This program threatens HIV/AIDS patients' health and privacy," according to the complaint. "If HIV/AIDS patients in [health plans where CVS Caremark controls pharmacy benefits] do not obtain their HIV/AIDS medications from [Caremark California Specialty Pharmacy], then they must either pay more out-of-pocket or pay full price with no insurance benefits whatsoever—thousands of dollars or more each month—to purchase their medications at an in-network community pharmacy where they can receive counseling from a pharmacist and other services they may need to stay alive." 

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