Dutch pharmacy accused of price gouging

HOLLAND, Michigan — An Ottawa County pharmacy is accused of price gouging.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has issued a Notice of Intent to Action (NIA) to Skip’s Pharmacy in Holland following complaints that an at-home COVID-19 test kit sold far more than it should should.

Nessel also issued a notice of intent to action to pharmacies in Madison Heights and Birch Run.

AG Nessel says she has received consumer complaints against Value Center Pharmacy in Madison Heights and Skip’s Pharmacy.

Skip’s Pharmacy and Value Center Pharmacy attempted to justify the prices of the kits by providing invoices showing how much they paid to purchase them from the third company, Birch Run Drugs.

“As detailed below, this office has evidence that Value Center Pharmacy was charging $50 per kit for the iHealth kit in December 2021, and that Skip’s Pharmacy was charging $80 per kit for this same product in early January 2022. We compared these prices with both those offered online as well as those charged by other Michigan pharmacies. The information we gathered provides probable reason to believe that Value Center Pharmacy and Skip’s Pharmacy were charging consumers prices for the iHealth Kit that were significantly higher than the price at which this kit was sold by other retailers,” the NIA states.

According to a press release from Nessel, when purchased online from the manufacturer, the iHealth COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test currently sells for $17.98 for a pack containing two tests and was selling for up to 19, $98 in the last month.

Nessel says that in addition to owning these two pharmacies, resident agent Murali Ginjupalli has a connection to Birch Run Drugs in Birch Run. The Department discovered the relationship while collecting evidence.

According to Nessel, his department urges pharmacies to explore a voluntary insurance agreement to avoid additional lawsuits. Pharmacies have until February 13 to respond and provide additional documentation.

“The resistance we have encountered trying to gather price information from the Value Center and Skip’s Pharmacy for iHealth testing compounds the concerns of this office. We understand that these stores are under common ownership. And, when we finally received the information we requested, it was in the form of invoices indicating that Value Center and Skip’s Pharmacy had purchased the kits from Birch Run Drugs. A business search for Birch Run Drugs on the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website shows that you are also the Resident Agent for this entity. Thus, it appears that an effort was made to justify the prices charged by Value Center and Skip’s Pharmacy with invoices that do not reflect arm’s length transactions,” the NIA explains.

You can read the full NIA below.

Notice of Intended Action with Attachments – Revised 747346 7 through WXMI on Scribd

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