CVS agrees to settlement with Cuomo

Nick Rees Nov. 10, 2009, 3:52pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has reached a settlement with a national retail pharmacy chain to end its alleged sale of expired products.

CVS Pharmacy, Inc., has agreed to an $875,000 settlement to conclude a previously filed lawsuit by the attorney general in New York Supreme Court. The lawsuit covered CVS's alleged sale of expired products and its breach of a prior settlement with the attorney general wherein it agreed to take measures to end the sale of expired products.

"New Yorkers should not have to worry that their neighborhood pharmacy is selling expired over-the-counter drugs that may be harmful to themselves or their families," Cuomo said.

"Today's settlement with CVS and our past settlement with Rite Aid - which total approximately $2 million - send the message that companies have a responsibility to put the safety of their customers ahead of boosting their profits."

The agreement comes as part of Cuomo's undercover investigation into all major drug store chains in the state. The probe revealed that CVS and Rite Aid, two of the largest chain drug stores in the state, sold expired products. In total, 142 CVS stores and 112 Rite Aid stores in more than 41 counties - approximately 60 percent of the CVS stores visited and 43 percent or Rite Aid stores visited - were found to be selling expired products.

Subsequent inspections revealed that expired products were still sold by CVS and Rite Aid after Cuomo issued an advisory. At the CVS stores, items more than two years beyond their expiration dates were found, Cuomo said.

Rite Aid, which has 710 stores in New York , agreed to a $1.3 million settlement in December over the expired products.

The new settlement agreement with CVS, which has 432 stores in New York, requires $875,000 in penalties, costs and fees. CVS also agreed to refrain from the sale of expired products, commit to specific policies and procedures designed to prevent the sale of expired products, obtain approval from the attorney general before making material changes to such policies and procedures, and train CVS employees in identifying and removing expired products from store shelves.

Internal compliance checks of New York CVS stores for expired products will now be made, with any store failing the check subject to a $2,500 penalty.

CVS is also required to post notices in aisles where over-the-counter drugs, infant formula, milk and eggs are sold reminding customers to check the expiration and sell by dates.

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