Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

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Alameda County DA Settles Civil Lawsuit with Walgreens Pharmacies

Oakland, CA – Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced today that the Office’s Consumer, Environmental and Worker Protection Division, along with Riverside and San Diego District Attorney’s Offices and the California State Board of Pharmacy, has obtained a $502,200 settlement in a consumer protection lawsuit brought against the Walgreens Co. pharmacy chain in California.

The civil complaint, filed in San Diego Superior Court, alleges that California Walgreens pharmacists frequently failed to comply fully with the Board’s rules requiring personal pharmacist consultations when prescription drug customers receive new prescriptions or new dosages of existing prescriptions.

In 2011 the California State Board of Pharmacy contacted the three District Attorney Offices concerning health risks that may arise when pharmacists fail properly to provide needed personal consultation to prescription drug customers. Working with the Board of Pharmacy, the three District Attorney Offices conducted an undercover investigation of the consultation practices of a number of the major pharmacy chains in California.

Under the terms of the judgment, which was entered without admission of liability, Walgreens is enjoined to comply properly with California’s standards for patient consultations, and must fully implement an internal compliance program. The Walgreens entities also agreed to pay agency investigative costs of $79,200 and civil penalties totaling $423,000. Walgreens and its counsel worked cooperatively with the prosecutors to promptly resolve the matter and to implement the new compliance procedures.

“The collaboration of the three D.A. Offices and the State Board of Pharmacy resulted in this settlement,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley. “Pharmacist consultations are imperative to make certain that prescriptions have been filled according to a doctor’s order, as well as to advise the patient of proper and safe usage of the medication. My Office remains dedicated to ensuring that the public has access to knowledge and education regarding the use of all prescription drugs.”

Posted on Aug 18, 2015