Monday, November 30, 2009
The CVS store on Westport’s Post Road East was among 20 CVS Connecticut stores cited today in allegations by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as stocking and selling expired food and nonprescription drugs.
Westport’s CVS store on Post Road East was among those cited by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
“CVS’ failure to properly police and supervise its shelves—allowing out- of-date medicine and potentially rotten food to remain—is unconscionable and unacceptable,” Blumenthal said in a news release announcing a lawsuit against Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark Corp.
“Especially appalling is the sale of expired baby formula—which loses nutrients over time—robbing infants of vital nourishment.”
CVS became aware of the specific allegations only today, according to a statement issued by the company.
“The health and safety of our customers is our top priority and CVS/pharmacy has a clear product removal policy in place at all of its stores to help ensure that items are removed from store shelves before they reach their expiration dates,” the company statement said.
“Any unintentional deviations from this policy that are brought to the company’s attention are quickly rectified for customers.”
Expired items allegedly sold by CVS include cough and allergy medicines, baby formula and antacids, as well as energy drinks and dairy products, such as milk, eggs and yogurt.
Office of Attorney General investigators found the expired products in the summers of 2008 and 2009, the news release said.
Blumenthal’s investigation showed the problem worsening since last year, it said.
Nearly half of CVS stores surveyed this year were found selling expired products compared to about a quarter in 2008, Blumenthal’s office said. The investigation also showed numerous stores selling expired products both years.
Blumenthal is looking for money penalties for violations of the state consumer protection laws and to prohibit CVS from selling products with passed expiration dates.
“CVS peddled potentially tainted food and ineffective medicine. Whether CVS was careless or heedless or overzealous for revenue, it betrayed its trust to consumers,” Blumenthal said.
CVS officials said the company is fully committed to maintaining inventory management practices to prevent expired products from being sold to customers.
Blumenthal filed the lawsuit last week in state Superior Court in Hartford in cooperation with Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr.
Earlier this month, CVS agreed to pay $875,000 to settle similar charges by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, while rival Rite Aid Corp last December agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle with Cuomo.
In the New York accord, CVS agreed to adopt procedures to prevent the sale of expired products, and post in-store notices reminding customers to check expiration dates. The company said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.
Blumenthal said Connecticut’s probe into sales of expired products, “potentially involving other chains,” will continue.
Posted 11/30/09 at 09:24 PM Permalink