Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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August 17, 2010

Attorney General Corbett announces $250,000 consumer protection settlement with CVS concerning expired drugs & food products

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the Attorney General's Health Care Section has reached a $250,000 consumer protection settlement with the CVS Pharmacy chain addressing complaints that expired over the counter drugs, infant formula, baby food, dairy products and other food items were sold at stores in Pennsylvania.

"Expiration dates are included on various products to ensure that consumers are purchasing items that are effective and safe to use," Corbett said.  "This settlement not only requires CVS to adopt policies designed to prevent expired items from being sold in the future, it will also help community organizations provide much-needed food and medical supplies to low-income families across Pennsylvania."

Corbett said the agreement with Pennsylvania CVS Pharmacy and White Cross Stores Inc. No 14, known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, requires the pharmacy chain to take a number of steps to prevent items from being sold after their listed "sell by" or "expiration dates."

Corbett said CVS is required to provide coupons for $2.00 off any future purchase to any consumers who find expired products offered for sale at a CVS store in Pennsylvania.  Those consumers must notify a CVS employee about the expired product and present the expired item to a store employee or cashier.

Additionally, Corbett said the settlement includes a $150,000 payment from CVS, which will be distributed by the Attorney General's Office to organizations that provide assistance to Pennsylvania families by distributing baby food, infant formula, dairy products and over the counter drugs.  The AVC also includes $100,000 that will be used by the Attorney General's Office for future consumer protection and education activities.

Corbett said the settlement requires CVS to institute a system to ensure that expired products are not sold, including:

- Daily inspection of all dairy products at CVS stores.
- Regular inspections of other products and removal of items that are within 60 days of their expiration dates (This includes all items related to allergy treatment, baby feeding, children's remedies, cold remedies, oral hygiene products, pain relievers, stomach remedies and all other over the counter drugs that contain expiration dates).
- Prominent notices in all stores reminding customers to check the "sell by" and "expiration" dates, and to notify CVS employees immediately if customers find expired products.
- Automatic prompts in store cash register systems requiring cashiers to verify expiration dates before items can be sold (expired products may not be sold).
- Training and certification for all store managers and employees involved in stocking baby food, infant formula, dairy products and over the counter drugs.
- Regular audits of CVS stores to verify compliance with the settlement.

Corbett said consumers with questions or complaints concerning expired products at CVS stores should contact the Attorney General's Health Care Section at 1-877-888-4877 or file an online complaint using the Attorney General's website, at www.attorneygeneral.gov (Click on the "Complaints" button on the front page of the website and select the "Health Care Complaint Form").

The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance was filed today in Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Timothy E. Gates, of the Attorney General's Health Care Section.

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