The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Unit has settled a civil action against CVS pharmacy for selling expired over-the-counter drugs and baby formula.
The settlement stipulated CVS will pay $7.5 million in civil penalties and restitution.
The DA’s office said Monday in a statement the settlement is part of a multi-county enforcement action initiated by officials in Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, Fresno, Marin, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Shasta, Solano, and Yolo counties.
CVS has 31 stores in Contra Costa, offering products such as over-the-counter drugs, food, infant formula, and baby food.
California law prohibits retailers from selling or offering for sale any over-the-counter drug that has expired. Food retailers are also prohibited from selling or offering for sale any infant formula or baby food that has passed its “use by” date, as mandated by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Filed in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on May 9, the complaint alleged CVS has been selling expired over-the-counter drug products, infant formula and baby food past their “use by” date for the past four years.
The Contra Costa DA’s office said CVS cooperated with authorities and acted by conducting internal checks for expired over-the-counter drugs, infant formula, and baby food that were past the “use by” date at all their retail locations in California.
Authorities also said CVS also retrained employees to verify the expiration dates of food and drug products. The investigation didn’t show evidence the sale of expired or past the “use by” date products resulted in harm to any consumers.
“This enforcement action underscores how our work helps to protect consumers from unlawful business practices,” Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said, in a statement. “The residents of Contra Costa County must have confidence that the products they purchase are safe and not beyond their expiration dates. This settlement shows that CVS Pharmacy understands the seriousness of the violations and has taken steps to remedy the problem.”
CVS agreed to abide by a court order prohibiting further violations of California law regarding the sale or offer for sale of expired over-the-counter drugs or infant formula and baby food past their “use by” date.
The agreement was made without admitting or denying wrongdoing. CVS will pay $6.5 million in civil penalties and investigative costs and $1 million in restitution, the latter of which will go to various charitable organizations throughout the state.
In Contra Costa, CVS will pay the DA’s office $475,000 in civil penalties and $19,000 to reimburse the office for prosecution costs.
Source: NBC Bay Area
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