20 May 2009

CVS - A Menace to Health & Well Being

The nation's largest retail pharmacy chain is earning a very bad reputation among older Americans and in minority communities for, among other things, selling expired goods and health code violations. These expired items include dairy, infant formulas, and child and adult medication.

In late February 2009 volunteer surveyors visiting 90% of the CVS stores in the Houston area found only three stores with no expired products on their shelves. Some examples of what the surveyors found:

  • Nesquick Strawberry milk over two weeks past its expiration date.

  • Nutrimigen Lipil, an infant formula, which had expired a full year previously.

  • CVS-brand Non-Drowsy Nasal Decongestant two years past its expiration date.

  • CVS-brand Sinus Relief Nighttime nine months past its expiration date.
The City of Houston health inspectors have cited nearly half of the CVS stores for dirty refrigerators or for maintaining food in coolers with missing or malfunctioning thermometers. Outside Houston, in Harris County, the citation rate was nearly 20%.

In more than one in six visits inspectors found expired infant formula or other adulterated food items on its store shelves.

Mind you, these are not isolated incidents limited to a small geographic area or the results of one bad manager, but, rather, a significant nationwide disgrace. In other cities across the country, such as Detroit, New York and Philadelphia, CVS is more frequently cited for health code violations in communities of color. Nationally, CVS has been repeatedly caught selling expired drugs, food and infant formulas.

And while the problem is more severe in communities of color and low-income areas, the company's disgraceful exploitation of consumers is endemic to the entire chain. In Massachusetts CVS Pharmacies is the single most penalized food retailer for overcharging.

CVS's mission statement contains these words, "to improve the lives we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access." CVS has repeatedly demonstrated an arrogant and willful disregard for its own stated mission and an exploitative business model targeting the weakest and most vulnerable Americans.

Such bad business behavior belies their mission statement and requires that each of us join in the grassroots movement to bring CVS back into standards of acceptable business practice and human decency.

For more information visit CureCVSNow.

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