CVS, the drugstore chain that seems to have an outlet on every Houston intersection that doesn't have a Walgreen's on it, has agreed to pay a whopping $75 million fine to make up for selling a key ingredient used in cooking meth.
The chain failed to take sufficient steps to limit the sale of pseudoephedrine, says the U.S. Attorney's office in Southern California. The allegations involved stores in at least 20 states, and if that doesn't include Texas it would be the upset of the year.
"This case shows what happens when companies fail to follow their ethical and legal responsibilities," said U.S. Attorney Andre 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."
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The AP report says "smurfers" would cruise CVS stores picking up the ingredient after discovering CVS didn't limit the amount of pseudoephedrine a person could purchase from the chain in a single day.
The ingredient is found in some cough medicines.
Thomas Ryan, chairman and CEO of parent company CVS Caremark, said the problem has been fixed.
"To make certain this kind of lapse never takes place again, we have strengthened our internal controls and compliance measures and made substantial investments to improve our handling and monitoring of (pseudoephedrine) by implementing enhanced technology and making other improvements in our stores and distribution centers," Ryan said.