DA O’Malley Announces Multi-Million Dollar Settlement with CVS Pharmacy, Inc.

OAKLAND -- District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced today that her office, together with 43 other California District Attorneys and the City Attorneys in San Diego and Los Angeles, has filed and settled a civil law enforcement action against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

The settlement took place in Ventura County Superior Court and resolves allegations that CVS violated California laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of sharps waste (needles that are contaminated with biohazardous waste), pharmaceutical and pharmacy waste, photo waste containing silver, and hazardous waste generated from spills and customer returns of hazardous products.

The California investigation began in 2010 after enforcement officials with the State of Connecticut discovered environmental violations by CVS. Acting in response to information from Connecticut, environmental inspectors from Alameda County Environmental Health Services, the City of San Leandro Environmental Health Services, the Hazardous Materials Units of the Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Departments, and the Berkeley City Toxics Management Division, conducted a compliance review of local CVS stores. The investigation revealed evidence of improper storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste products.

Alameda County District Attorney Investigators teamed up with these inspectors, as well as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and other district attorney investigators from around the State, to address findings of statewide violations of law at CVS stores. CVC was cooperative in the investigation. The alleged violations occurred over a seven-year period at hundreds of California CVS stores, pharmacies and distribution stores, including Long’s Drug Stores that CVS acquired and converted to its brand. CVS currently operates 31 stores in Alameda County.

“As a result of this multi-agency investigation and prosecution, regulated wastes produced by California CVS stores must now be properly stored, handled and transported, and disposed of at proper facilities. Appropriate records must be kept to document compliance with lawful procedures,” DA O’Malley states. “We applaud the cooperative efforts of agencies throughout the state to reach this resolution. The protection of our environment is a top priority of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.”

Under the Final Judgment signed by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Barbara Lane, CVS must pay $13.75 million in civil penalties and costs, as well as for supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in the State. CVS will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future alleged violations of law.


Posted on Apr 18, 2012