May 15, 2023
Contact: Ted Asregadoo, Public Information Officer, 925-957-8638
DA’s Office Settles Multi-County Enforcement Action with CVS Pharmacy
Martinez, California – The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Unit has settled a civil law enforcement action against CVS Pharmacy for selling expired over-the-counter drugs and baby formula.
The settlement is part of a multi-county enforcement action initiated by Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, Fresno, Marin, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Shasta, Solano, and Yolo Counties District Attorneys’ Offices. Locally, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Bryan Tierney prosecuted the case against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Longs Drug Stores California, L.L.C., and Garfield Beach CVS, L.L.C., (“CVS”).
CVS Pharmacy owns and runs pharmacies and retail stores throughout California – with 31 stores in Contra Costa County. These stores offer a variety of 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. Also, food retailers in California are 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.
The civil complaint -- which was filed in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on May 9th -- alleged that CVS Pharmacy has been selling expired over-the-counter drug products, as well as infant formula and baby food past their "use by" date for the past four years.
After being informed of the violation, CVS Pharmacy 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. CVS Pharmacy also invested time and resources to retrain store personnel to verify the expiration dates of food and drug products.
It’s important to note that the investigation did not uncover any evidence that the sale of expired or past the "use by" date products resulted in harm to consumers.
Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said, “This enforcement action underscores how our work helps to protect consumers from unlawful business practices. 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 Pharmacy agreed to abide by a court order that prohibits any 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 any wrongdoing. As part of the judgment, CVS will pay $6,500,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs, as well as an additional $1,000,000 in restitution. The restitution amount will be contributed to various charitable organizations that serve California residents throughout the state. Locally, CVS Pharmacy will pay the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office $475,000 in civil penalties, and $19,000 to reimburse the office for prosecution costs.