A new analysis by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen finds that the company has spent almost $1.2 billion since 2011 on the Cardholders Pharmacy Discount Card program, a program that allows pharmacy cardholders to get discounted prices on a wide range of items.
The program has been criticized for not being as transparent as other pharmacy benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, which allow patients to shop for prescription drugs online and pay with their card instead of cash.
Public Citizen’s analysis of the Cardholder Pharmacy discount card program found that Walmart spent about $3.6 billion on the program since 2011.
The program is managed by the pharmacy benefit manager program, which has been at the center of a number of lawsuits over its use of the card.
The group has filed suit in several states challenging the program’s constitutionality.
In a statement, Walmart said the Cardcards program is a program with “good intent.”
“While we are always mindful of privacy concerns, the Cardcard program has the benefit of being accessible to consumers, making it easier for them to shop,” the statement read.
“We work with the pharmacy benefits managers, and the cardholder advocacy group, to help ensure that Cardcards is as transparent and easy to use as possible.”
Public Citizen’s data shows that Walmart paid about $1,400 per Cardholder in 2011, according to data collected by the advocacy group.
In the most recent year for which the group could determine the number of Cardholders in the program, 2016, Walmart paid $1 billion in Cardholders fees, according the report.
The advocacy group says the Cardprogram’s use of a card to pay for prescription items should be illegal under federal antitrust law.
The card’s cost can vary by pharmacy, and patients can opt out of using the program.
Public Citizens is seeking a court order requiring the Cardbenefits manager program to stop using the Card, as well as other consumer protections.
The Cardbenefit program has long been criticized as an unfair way for people to shop and not as an alternative to buying prescription drugs.
In February, a federal appeals court ruled that the Card is not a health care benefit under the federal Affordable Care Act and should not be subject to federal antitrust rules.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.