New York pharmacies discovered with expired OTC items

NEW YORK New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo held a conference yesterday to announce that his staff had found loads of expired over-the-counter medications, food items, and baby formula at more than 250 stores across the state, including CVS and Rite Aid, which were regarded as the two worst offenders, according to The New York Times.

Between the two chains, Cuomo’s staff bought more than 600 expired items, many of which were intended for children. Investigators visited 250 Rite Aid stores and 250 CVS stores, and found at least one expired item at 112 Rite Aids and 142 CVS stores in 41 counties, or 57 percent of the CVS stores and 45 percent of the Rite Aid stores. Most of the medications had expired in 2007 and 2008.

The drugstore chains did not contest Cuomo’s findings. They said that keeping expired products on their shelves was a violation of company policy and that they would cooperate with Cuomo’s office to fix the problem. “We value the trust our customers have placed in us to sell them products that are safe and effective, and the findings of New York’s attorney general are unacceptable to us,” Michael DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS, said in a written statement.

Ashley Flower, a spokeswoman for Rite Aid, said the company was checking the expiration dates of products in every store in New York and across the country. “We take the allegations in the New York attorney general’s letter very seriously,” she said.

Cuomo’s letter to CVS said the company had violated the terms of a 2003 settlement with the state attorney general’s office, in which it agreed to refrain from selling expired over-the-counter medications and to put safeguards in place.

“This persistent and flagrant defiance of the settlement calls into question CVS’ desire to alter its conduct,” Michael Berlin, a deputy attorney general, wrote to the company in the latest letter threatening litigation.

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