1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2005 Regular Session


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Title 37 - Consumer Protection Code
CHAPTER 17.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG DISCOUNT CARDS



SECTION 37-17-10. Discount drug cards; regulation of sellers; penalty; exceptions; definition of "person".

(A) It is unlawful for a person to sell, market, promote, advertise, or distribute a card or other purchasing mechanism or device which is not insurance that purports to offer discounts or access to discounts from pharmacies for prescription drug purchases unless:

(1) the person is registered with the Department of Consumer Affairs for this express purpose;

(2) the card or other purchasing mechanism or device expressly states in bold and prominent type, prominently placed, that the discounts are not insurance;

(3) documentation is provided to the Department of Consumer Affairs that the discounts are specifically authorized and the person has a separate contract with each pharmacy or pharmacy chain listed in conjunction with the card or other purchasing mechanism or device; and

(4) the discounts or access to discounts offered, or the range of discounts or access to the range of discounts offered, are not misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent.

(B)(1) A person who sells, markets, promotes, advertises, or distributes a card or other purchasing mechanism or device which is not insurance that purports to offer discounts or access to discounts from pharmacies for prescription drug purchases in this State shall designate a resident of this State as an agent for service of process and register the agent with the Secretary of State.

(2) In the absence of proper registration under subsection (B)(1), the Secretary of State is designated as an agent upon whom process may be served. Service of any process on the Secretary of State may be made by delivering to and leaving with the Secretary of State, or with any person designated by him to receive such service, duplicate copies of the process, notice, or demand. The Secretary of State shall forward one of the copies by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person required to register under subsection (B)(1) at the last known physical address to the party serving process. Refusal to sign the return receipt does not affect the validity of the service. Service is effective under this subsection as of the date shown on the return receipt or five days after its deposit in the mail, whichever is earlier. The Secretary of State may charge a fee of ten dollars for the service. This subsection does not affect the right to serve process in any manner otherwise provided by law.

(C)(1) A person who violates subsection (A) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than six months or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both; for a second or subsequent violation a person must be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (C)(1), a person who violates this chapter is subject to all civil and administrative remedies available in this title.

(D) This section does not apply to:

(1) a pharmacy holding a permit issued pursuant to Title 40, Chapter 43;

(2) eye or vision care services or glasses or contact lenses provided by an optometrist or ophthalmologist;

(3) any benefit or program offered in conjunction with a health insurance plan administered by a health insurer, health care service contractor, or health maintenance organization regulated under Title 38; or

(4) an insured benefit administered by, or under contract with, the State of South Carolina.

(E) For purposes of this section, "person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or any other business entity, including, but not limited to, a health maintenance organization, an insurance company, or a third party payor. Representatives of corporations, partnerships, or other business entities must be registered before they shall offer services under this section.

(F) The department may promulgate regulations as necessary to assist in administering this chapter including, but not limited to, regulations concerning assessment of registration fees and standards for corporate and individual representative registration.






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