Judge says former CVS executive cannot join PillPack

An executive who jumped ship from CVS Health to join Amazon’s online pharmacy business PillPack will not be allowed to take on his new role, according to a U.S. District Court judge who ruled the move violated a noncompete agreement.

John Lavin, who formerly worked at CVS Caremark, was enjoined from taking a new role at PillPack from the judge earlier this year, and CVS filed a brief earlier this week urging the court to uphold the ruling, Reuters reported. The judge found sufficient evidence Lavin would likely cause CVS harm.

The lawsuit underscores how serious a threat Amazon is to traditional healthcare stakeholders. It also ensured that Amazon is a competitor to CVS.

Amazon––along with CVS––was among the top threats cited by healthcare leaders in a recent survey. Amazon announced a joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway in 2018 to create a separate entity that would focus on healthcare for their combined 1.1 million employees, and stakeholders have been watching the e-commerce giant’s every move into the healthcare space since. That only increased when Amazon purchased PillPack last year. However, details have been scant, with the most revealing initiatives divulged in other lawsuits.

The world’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, took the venture, named Haven, to court after it hired a former United executive from the insurer’s Optum business. UnitedHealthcare aimed to prevent David W. Smith from working at the venture, similarly arguing the move violated a noncompete clause. The case opened up some of the details from the venture, with Smith describing his role of analyzing the healthcare needs of the employee patient pool and no intentions to sell innovative ideas outside the venture. However, the claim was dismissed.