BOSTON–Expired infant formula, medications and milk remain on CVS shelves according to investigators who found dozens of out-of-date products at 32 Greater Boston stores in recent days. The news comes more than two weeks after a report by Cure CVS exposed the drugstore chain’s problems with expired goods across the country. That same day, the New York Attorney General filed suit against CVS for offering expired products for sale. At that time, a CVS spokesman said «Our policy is to remove items before the expiration date.»

At a press conference today outside the CVS on Washington Street, investigators displayed the expired products recently purchased at Greater Boston CVS stores, including

  • Similac infant formula purchased in Cambridge on December 17, 2008, that expired more than four months before, on August 1, 2008;

  • A package of the children’s motion sickness medicine Bonine for Kids, purchased in East Boston on December 12, 2008, that expired in December 2007;

  • A package of Vanquish pain reliever purchased in Amesbury on December 17, 2008 that had expired over a year before, in November 2007.

«CVS needs to take responsibility for this and stop exposing the public to expired products,» said Cure CVS Boston coordinator Faron McLurkin. «Two Attorneys General have demanded that CVS remove expired goods from their stores. In New York, the Attorney General is suing. And yet we still found all these products on CVS shelves from Boston to Worcester and from Braintree to Salem.»

Using expired products could be dangerous. The infant formula industry’s own trade group says that vitamin levels in infant formula decrease after the expiration date. Expired medications also pose potential risks. Outdated children’s liquid medicines could evaporate, resulting in children taking a concentrated, adult dose of medicine. Aspirin loses potency over time which could endanger patients taking aspirin daily to protect against heart disease.

Investigators in Philadelphia and Detroit held similar events today, displaying out-of-date products recently purchased from CVS-area stores.

CVS repeatedly caught selling expired products:

Today’s findings follow another investigation conducted earlier this year in which 27% of Greater Boston stores surveyed (62 out of 223) had infant formula past their ‘sell by’ dates for purchase and/or expired milk or eggs in the cooler. Surveyors also found expired over-the-counter drugs – often children’s medicines and often CVS brand products – on sale. The findings were part of a nationwide study of the troubled drugstore chain titled «Cure CVS: From low quality to high prices, CVS is failing our communities» now available at www.CureCVSNow.org

In New York, the Attorney General is suing CVS, citing CVS’s «unwillingness to properly address the problems found at its New York stores» with expired products. CVS made a legally binding agreement with the New York Attorney General to stop selling expired drugs in 2003. Then the Attorney General found expired goods on CVS shelves in June of this year – and again just weeks after announcing his initial findings and after CVS had promised to cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation. After determining that CVS had failed to keep expired products off its shelves, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against CVS on December 4, 2008.

In June 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown investigated CVS stores in response to consumer complaints. His staff found expired products on the shelves of 26 CVS stores in Southern California. The expired products included infant formula, over-the-counter medicines, milk and eggs.

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