Caremark RX, the Rhode Island-based pharmacy benefit management subsidiary of drugstore giant CVS, kicked in a total of $6300 on April 4 to the 2020 re-election fund of Democratic California Senate leader Toni Atkins, disclosure filings show. CVS and Caremark have been hit by claims of two labor union health plans that the firms conspired to hide their lowest prices, reports Bloomberg news. Another Caremark case accused the company of “billing the government for prescription drugs at a greater price than it pays to pharmacies,” per a Healthcare Finance account. Caremark has denied the allegations. The same day it got Caremark’s cash, the Atkins fund came up with $5000 for the San Diego County Democratic Party, which is backing one-time Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in a primary race for county supervisor.
Other recent $6300 contributions to the Atkins fund include one on March 23 by Houston, Texas-based Phillips 66. The Texas oil giant has battled residents in the central coast county of San Luis Obispo county over a crude oil train terminal project.
Earlier this year, Napa state senator Bill Dodd introduced a bill to triple penalties that can be levied by air pollution control districts on refineries, including a Phillips 66 plant near Vallejo, which sickened scores due to a petroleum leak in September, 2016. “Dodd’s bill would set the new fine at $30,000, and if refineries are found negligent, the amount would go up to $75,000 per day,” said the senator’s state website. “In instances where a refinery fails to correct a known violation or intentionally violates standards, the violations would be even greater. For serial offenders with multiple serious violations within 36 months, the fines could be as much as $500,000 per day.” But an April 4 hearing was canceled and five days later the bill, SB 1144, was gutted.