District Attorney Settles $13 Million Lawsuit Against CVS Pharmacy
April 26, 2012
The Ventura County District Attorney announced today that his office and the City Attorneys in San Diego and Los Angeles, has filed and settled a civil law enforcement action in Ventura County Superior Court against CVS Pharmacy, Inc. The settlement resolves allegations that CVS violated California laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of sharps 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 after local officials discovered that CVS was investigated by environmental enforcement officials within the State of Connecticut. Acting in response to that information, inspectors with the Ventura County Environmental Health Division conducted a compliance review at local CVS stores and found evidence of improper storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste products. Ventura 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 work with CVS to address findings of statewide violations of law at CVS stores. As a result of the investigation and prosecution, regulated wastes produced by California CVS stores must now be properly stored, handled and transported, and disposed of at proper facilities with appropriate records kept documenting compliance with lawful procedures.
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 23 stores in Ventura County.
Under the terms of the settlement, CVS must pay a total of $13.75 million in civil penalties, costs and for supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in the State, and will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future alleged violations of law. CVS is ordered to pay $295,750 in civil penalties and cost recovery to the Ventura County Environmental Health Division and Oxnard Fire HazMat, and $1,277,500 in civil penalties and cost recovery to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.