CVS targeted in Blumenthal suit

By Nick Rees | Nov 30, 2009


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced a lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., for allegedly selling food, beverages and over-the-counter medications past their expiration dates.

The sales, which allegedly occurred at 20 or more of CVS's Connecticut stores, included expired cough and allergy medicines, baby formula and antacids, as well as energy drinks and dairy products, including milk, eggs and yogurt, Blumenthal said.

"Basic business law and ethics give consumers a right to unspoiled food and safe and effective medicine," Blumenthal said. "I will fight for significant penalties against CVS, sending a powerful message that expiration dates must be respected.Any item past its expiration date should be off shelves, out of stores."

The allegedly expired products were found by investigators from the Office of the Attorney General in the summers of 2008 and 2009. An investigation revealed that the problem of selling expired products has gotten worse since last year, with nearly half of CVS stores surveyed this year found to be selling expired products, Blumenthal said.

"Shockingly, our 2009 investigation showed nearly one of every two CVS stores surveyed selling out-of-date food and over the counter medicine," Blumenthal said.

"The out-of-date rate -- double last year -- seems definitely worsening. Out-of-date products were basics like cough and allergy medicine, baby formula and dairy products. CVS's failure to properly police and supervise its shelves -- allowing out-of-date medicine and potentially rotten food to remain -- is unconscionable and unacceptable. Especially appalling is the sale of expired baby formula -- which loses nutrients over time -- robbing infants of vital nourishment."

Blumenthal's lawsuit, filed in cooperation with Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr., seeks significant monetary penalties for violations of the state's consumer protection laws. The lawsuit also seeks an order barring CVS from selling products that are passed their expiration dates.

"CVS peddled potentially tainted food and ineffective medicine," Blumenthal said. "Whether CVS was careless or heedless or overzealous for revenue, it betrayed its trust to consumers."

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