Thursday, March 5, 2009

Michigan School Sued by Liberal Group over FOIA Case

While free enterprise is almost always at odds with organized labor, the litigation filed by Change to Win, against Ferris State University is, in its barest form, certainly on the mark. The refusal of Ferris to divulge this contract, which is it obligated to do under law, is unconscionable regardless of how distasteful Change to Win is in its other endeavors.
From a release: “CVS Caremark’s lack of transparency is driving up prescription drug costs for consumers and health plans alike,” said Chris Chafe, executive director of Change to Win. “Michigan law protects the people’s right to know, in this case, what CVS Caremark is charging the university for prescription drug benefits, but also what compensation CVS Caremark may be receiving in the form of undisclosed agreements with drug manufacturers and pharmacies at taxpayers’ expense.”
We’re troubled here by CVS Caremark’s history of secrecy. The University of Michigan in 2005 ended its dealings with Caremark over a lack of transparency on pricing issues. Other municipalities have done the same.
We understand that some discretion is needed to ensure a competitive advantage. But that advantage is not at issue when a private company decides to play in the public arena, and this goes for anyone, be it a concessionaire, an airline or a health care provider. If they would prefer to have their information kept private, then don’t do business with the public sector.
The complaint:
Change to Win FOIA Complaint
One more tidbit related to this case: Margaret Kwoka is an attorney for Public Citizen representing Change to Win on this case. She is also the lawyer who is taking on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to gain access to a report showing the dangers of cell phone use by drivers.

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