RITE AID: Suit Says Chain Sold Expired Condoms, Other Products
County prosecutors from across the state filed a joint lawsuit yesterday charging that pharmacy giant Rite Aid has been selling condoms and other contraceptives, over-the-counter children's medication and baby formula that are well past their expiration dates, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Seeking monetary damages and a court order banning the sale of expired products, prosecutors from Alameda, Merced and Santa Barbara counties and the San Diego city attorney "said they have not received any reports of anyone falling ill, becoming pregnant" or contracting an STD as a result of the expired products (Walker, 6/9). The Sacramento Bee reports that prosecutors have set up a hotline -- 800-869-9824 -- "for consumers to report sales of expired health products by Rite Aid or other retailers, as well as injuries from the products" (Cooper, 6/9). The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that prosecutors also "took the unusual step of warning consumers to check their medicine chests for Rite Aid products that may no longer be effective." San Diego Deputy City Attorney Stephen Gold, who claimed Rite Aid could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation, said, "Despite knowing about this problem, Rite Aid has not taken appropriate action to warn consumers they may have expired products in their medicine cabinets." The Union- Tribune reports that attorneys found more than 200 expired products at 50 Rite Aids stores; the company has a total of 660 stores in the state (McDonald, 6/9). Rite Aid denied the attorneys' charges, saying it has recently begun removing products from its shelves 60 days before their expiration, compared with 30 days previously. Rite Aid's Sarah Datz said, "We are surprised and disappointed that a handful of attorneys have decided to take this action despite everything we and our more than 18,000 employees in California have done" (Chronicle, 6/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.