Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Press Release



Attorney General, DCP Sue CVS Pharmacies For Alleged Sale Of Expired Foods, Over The Counter Drugs

November 30, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced he is suing CVS Pharmacy, Inc. for allegedly selling food, beverages and over the counter medications past their expiration dates at 20 or more of its Connecticut stores.

Blumenthal filed the lawsuit in cooperation with Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr.

Expired items allegedly sold by CVS include cough and allergy medicines, baby formula and antacids, as well as energy drinks and dairy products, such as milk, eggs and yogurt. Office of Attorney General investigators found the expired products in the summers of 2008 and 2009.

Blumenthal's investigation showed the problem worsening since last year. Nearly half of CVS stores surveyed this year were found selling expired products compared to about a quarter in 2008. It also showed numerous stores selling expired products both years.

The lawsuit potentially seeks significant monetary penalties for violations of the state consumer protection laws, as well as an order barring CVS from selling products with passed expiration dates.

Blumenthal said. "Shockingly, our 2009 investigation showed nearly one of every two CVS stores surveyed selling out-of-date food and over the counter medicine. The out-of-date rate -- double last year -- seems definitely worsening. Out-of-date products were basics like cough and allergy medicine, baby formula and dairy products. CVS' failure to properly police and supervise its shelves -- allowing out- of-date medicine and potentially rotten food to remain -- is unconscionable and unacceptable. Especially appalling is the sale of expired baby formula -- which loses nutrients over time -- robbing infants of vital nourishment.

"Basic business law and ethics give consumers a right to unspoiled food and safe and effective medicine. I will fight for significant penalties against CVS, sending a powerful message that expiration dates must be respected. Any item past its expiration date should be off shelves, out of stores.

"When shopping at CVS, consumers should check carefully and scrutinize closely because out-of-date products may still be on shelves.

"CVS peddled potentially tainted food and ineffective medicine. Whether CVS was careless or heedless or overzealous for revenue, it betrayed its trust to consumers."

After receiving complaints alleging CVS was selling expired products, Blumenthal's office in the summer of 2008 chose at random about 40 CVS stores statewide for site visits. Investigators found and purchased expired products at 10.

Blumenthal's office visited about 45 CVS stores again last summer, this time finding 20, double the number the year before, selling expired products. That included all 10 found to be selling expired products in 2008.