Rite Aid agrees to pay NJ fine

June 23, 2008 11:59:30 AM PDT
Rite Aid Corp. has agreed to pay New Jersey up to $650,000 to settle a lawsuit charging that dozens of its stores in the state sold expired infant formula, baby food, and over-the-counter medications. "Expired products have no place on the shelves of New Jersey stores, and as this settlement makes clear, the law requires Rite Aid to make sure product dates are checked and requires that out-of-date products are not offered for sale," state Attorney General Anne Milgram said Monday in announcing the deal.

Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pa., admitted no wrongdoing, her office said.

Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said an investigation found Rite Aid and CVS were selling expired food, medicine and baby formula at locations across the state.

The expired items were found at 142 CVS and 112 Rite Aid Pharmacies in New York. Cuomo says his office is preparing civil lawsuits against the chains.

After the New Jersey settlement was announced Monday, Rite Aid spokeswoman Cheryl Slavinsky said the company has implemented policies to periodically inspect merchandise to make sure expired products aren't being sold. She said price accuracy is also being monitored.

"We continue to take these situations very seriously, and it has never been our intent to sell outdated or incorrectly priced products," she said.

Under the settlement, Rite Aid is to pay $475,000, representing a penalty, legal fees and investigative costs. If terms are violated over the next year, Rite Aid would pay an additional penalty of $175,000.

New Jersey sued in October 2006, charging that its inspectors not only found expired products, but determined that stores had defrauded consumers by charging more than the shelf price for some goods. The state said Rite Aid violated agreements it had made with New Jersey in October 2001, November 2001 and June 2005.

The latest deal requires Rite Aid to check expiration dates before putting nonprescription drugs, infant formula, baby food and cosmetics up for sale. The company also agreed to destroy or return expired merchandise removed from store shelves.

--- On the Net: Rite Aid: http://www.riteaid.com Attorney General's Office: http://www.state.nj.us/lps (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-06-23-08 1443EDT


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