CVS Fined $77.6 Million For Aiding Meth Cooks

Published by: Ronnie on 14th Oct 2010 | View all blogs by Ronnie


CVS Fined $77.6 Million For Aiding Meth Cooks

Federal prosecutors announced on Thursday that CVS Pharmacy was ordered to pay $77.6 million in fines and returned profits in a case alleging improper control in the sale of an ingredient use to make mathamphetamine.

The US Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, California said the largest US operator of retail pharmacies repeatedly failed to properly monitor sales of pseudophedrine, a common ingredient in cold medications which is also used to make meth.  By failing to monitor sales of the drug, CVS allowed traffickers of methamphetamine in Southern California and the Las Vegas area to acquire “large amounts” of pseudophedrine, prosecutors said, adding that the sales led to a significant rise in the production of methamphetamine in the area.

Prosecutors said that the pharmacy will pay a fine of $75 million, the largest civil penalty ever levied under the Controlled Substances Act.  The company will also be required to surrender $2.6 million in profits they received from the improperly monitored transactions. 

"This case shows what happens when companies fail to follow their ethical and legal responsibilities," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.   "CVS knew it had a duty to prevent methamphetamine trafficking, but it failed to take steps to control the sale of a regulated drug used by methamphetamine cooks as an essential ingredient for their poisonous stew."

Criminal charges will not be brought against the company because it admitted to the charges and has agreed to enter a compliance agreement with the government.  CVS has said it will continue to cooperate with federal prosecutors with regards to the case.

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