CVS to Pay $78 Million in Methamphetamine Control Penalties

CVS repeatedly failed to properly monitor pseudophedrine sales according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and has agreed to pay $77.6 million in fines and returned profits.

Insufficient monitoring gave methamphetamine traffickers in Southern California and Clark County, NV, access to “large amounts” of pseudophedrine, which led to a rise in methamphetamine production in California. CVS is paying $75 million in fines, the largest civil penalty ever paid under the Controlled Substances Act, according to CNN Money.

“This case shows what happens when companies fail to follow their ethical and legal responsibilities,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. “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 have not been pursed because CVS agreed to enter into a compliance agreement with the government.

“While this lapse occurred in 2007 and 2008 and has been addressed, it was an unacceptable breach of the company’s policies and was totally inconsistent with our values,” CVS Caremark CEO Thomas Ryan said in a prepared statement. “CVS/pharmacy is unwavering in its support of the measures taken by the federal government and the states to prevent drug abuse.”