Selling Expired Products: CVS To Pay $875,000 Settlement

The NY AG’s office says that CVS will pay an $875,000 settlement to end legal action against them over the sale of “expired products – including over-the-counter drugs, baby formula, milk, and eggs – at stores across New York State.”

The AG’s office says (emphasis ours):

The agreement with CVS is the result of the Attorney General’s statewide, undercover investigation of all major drug store chains in New York State. The probe uncovered an egregious pattern at two of the largest chains: CVS and Rite Aid. Statewide, the Attorney General’s investigation revealed that 142 CVS and 112 Rite Aid stores in over 41 counties sold expired products. This reflects 60 percent of the CVS stores visited and 43 percent of the Rite Aid stores visited. At the CVS stores, undercover investigators found that some items were being sold more than two years past their expiration dates.

Subsequent inspections by the Attorney General revealed that both CVS and Rite Aid continued to sell expired products even after the Attorney General’s advisory.

CVS also agreed to refrain from selling expired products, commit to procedures designed to prevent the sale of expired products, obtain approval from the Attorney General before making material changes to such policies and procedures, and train CVS employees in identifying and removing expired products from store shelves. There will also be signs posted in aisles containing over-the-counter drugs, infant formula, milk, and eggs warning consumers to check the expiration dates.

(Photo:bubble dumpster)


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  1. kerrington.steele says:

    this totally happened to me in the Christopher St CVS in Manhattan! bought some CVS-brand cold & sinus dayquil-stuff and took 2 pills before noticing the expiration date was the previous month (or something … it was def expired). took it back and got a refund, and said to the cashier, “You might want to check the other boxes on the shelf.” Got a shrug in response.

    +1 to Cuomo, NY’s bas-ass AG.

  2. kaceetheconsumer says:


    I’ve found plenty of expired products in all kinds of grocery stores, especially when we lived in Las Vegas. Some of them didn’t matter so much, like canned goods, but other things like pectin could make jam makers in a bad situation. I’ve also seen expired dairy products.

    One time when I found a shelf full of expired Kraft Mac n Cheese, I turned them all so the date was showing outward, then found the store manager and told him. He said he’d fix the problem right away. Know how? He went back to the aisle and turned the boxes date-side-inward again and then walked away. He didn’t know I was watching. I called to him as he walked away and said that I had seen what he had done and would be contacting their national office and no longer shopping in their store. He apologized but looked more annoyed than anything, so I walked away from my cart and never went back to that store again, and did indeed tell the company via the website. Never heard back…don’t think they cared.

    So when I saw the expired pectin at the new store I started shopping at, I took it to the customer service counter and the manager thanked me. At least there, it didn’t reappear on the shelves.

  3. hotbonsai says:

    I worked at a tom thumb for a while and they would change the expiration dates on deli products and other products where you could just peel the sticker off and put a new one on top. Employees would report the managers for doing that but they only got a slap on the wrist every time.

  4. eigenvector says:

    This is so easy to prevent: rotate the newer product to the back of the shelf and the older to the front _every_time_ that product is restocked.

    Then only occasionally will something expire and stay on the shelf, but it will be a slow selling product and in the front where it can be easily checked periodically between restockings.

  5. Tambar says:

    A great coupon for Stacy’s Pita Chips led me to clean the shelves off at 3 Middle Georgia CVS stores and still I went home w/ no chips. Every bag in every store was expired; I filled the little cart w/ them and took them to the manager in each case. By the third store I was getting flummoxed. I called Stacy’s anyway to let them know.

  6. diasdiem says:

    They were unable to spot the undercover investigator:

  7. Gracegottcha says:

    It’s pretty simple. If people would stop buying expired products they would eventually go away. That said, I have accidentally bought expired foodstuffs myself – just not thinking that I needed to check. After a few boxes of stale Ritz crackers from WalMart (ARG, don’t get me started) I have started to look at everything I buy. Now, I even rotate in my enormous pantry at home. Some things, because of the coding, are hard to track. I think manufactures should have to put the expiration date in a readable fashion in a fairly prominent place on the package.

  8. morganlh85 says:

    Just the other day I went to take some CVS brand Tylenol when I realized that the expiration date was 6/09, and I had just bought the bottle a month or so ago when I had a fever. I had already taken about half the bottle! Luckily they gave me no issue when I took it back to exchange it. But I can only imagine how many bottles were there. And considering that the new bottle I got had a late 2011 expiration date, that bottle of Tylenol was VERY old.

  9. NORMLgirl says:

    I bought some expired vitamins at Rite Aid. I took the opened package back for a return and told them that the vitamins had expired.

    A couple of days later, I went back and the same OPENED EXPIRED bottle was sitting on the shelf!!! I told them to throw them away. I watched them do so, then never returned to that store.

  10. ellemnop says:

    This is slightly off topic, but I recently returned deodorant to CVS because I bought the wrong kind. Now, I know that you can return products to CVS for nearly any reason, but this conversation slightly disturbed me:

    Me: “I want to return this. I accidentally bought the wrong kind.”
    Cashier: “Ok, no problem. Do you have the credit card you bought it with?”
    Me: “Yes”

    Cashier: “You didn’t use it did you?”
    Me: “No, no, no. I just bought the wrong kind. I didn’t even open it.”
    Cashier: “Ok, just wanted to make sure before I put it back on the shelf.”

    I mean, she asks me that as an afterthought. Like if she didn’t think of it she would have just put it back on the shelf for sale.

    I don’t know, I find that to be off-putting.

  11. Plasmafire says:

    I bought some push pops at my CVS one time and did not find out that they expired until I tried, one, I did not even know it was possible for them to expire, they were way beyond their exp date. I took them back to CVS the next day and they apologized and gave me my money back plus some coupons.

  12. edrebber says:

    We need vigilanties to go through the stores loading up a shopping cart will all the expired items they can find. Then go to the checkout and hand the item to the cashier and tell them it’s expired. Or just leave the cart of expired items near the entrance.

  13. anonymouse23 says:

    you’re a fucking idiot if you dont check expiration dates at EVERY store you go to. cvs is not your babysitter.

    furthermore, retail stores arent entirely to blame. companies print their expiration dates in code. for example, certain product is marked D9 12:04 DC and if you see this on the package, you have no way to accurately, without a reasonable doubt discern what the actual date is. Some companies say that the number of the letter (d=4) stands for the month (april) and the number is the year (2009) others say the number of the letter stands for the year (2004) and that number (9) is the month (september)

  14. pittstonjoma says:

    I work at a Rite Aid, and we’re constantly checking products for outdates. We generally pull them off 2 months in advance unless it’s a vendor item like chips or soda. I guess some stores may be lax at checking the dates though. Maybe they need managers like our store has, who are very strict about the outdates.

    I suggest checking the dates on every product you buy just to be sure it’s not expired. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost purchased outdated food at the grocery store!