AG: Pharmacies selling expired products

June 12, 2008 4:19:40 PM PDT
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says two statewide drug store chains are selling expired food, medicine and baby formula.Cuomo said the items were found at 142 CVS and 112 Rite Aid Pharmacies in New York. Many stores sold milk and eggs that had expired, and some sold medications that were more than a year past their expiration dates.

"When the products pass their expiration dates, they become ineffective and potentially unsafe, threatening to put our loved ones at risk," Cuomo said.

Leaving expired food and medicine on the shelves breaks multiple state and federal laws, he said.

Among the findings, investigators discovered a Rite Aid in the Bronx with a carton of milk that was two weeks past expiration and a CVS in Dutchess County had cough medicine that should have been taken off the shelf more than a year ago.

"Consumers have every right to expect that the products on the shelves of their local drugstore, whether independent or large chain, meet the high standards set by the Food and Drug Administration and other oversight authorities," said Arthur Levin, executive director of the Center for Medical Consumers.

"Drug products have expiration dates for good reason. A drug's effectiveness can diminish over time as chemicals loose their potency."

Investigators for the Attorney General's office were able to buy more than 600 expired products around the state and notified both companies. (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE DATA)

"We take the allegations in the New York attorney general's letter very seriously," Rite Aid spokeswoman Cheryl Slavinsky said. "Our policies have always been not to have outdated products on our shelves. As soon as we received it, all stores mentioned ...

were told to make sure that there is no such product on the shelves now. We are also checking products in all stores nationwide and are retraining our stores on our policies and procedures."

Investigators found that 60 percent of the CVS stores and 43 percent of the Rite Aid stores they visited had expired merchandise.

The investigation began in March and while other companies were checked, "CVS and Rite Aid were the worst," Cuomo said.

He declined to reveal the other stores investigated, but advised consumers to check the expiration dates on products no matter where they buy them.

Cuomo says his office is preparing civil lawsuits against the chains.

A call to CVS was not immediately returned.