National Drug Store Chain Settles Case Regarding Over-the-counter Drugs

Attorney General Spitzer announced today an agreement with one of the nation’s leading drug store chains to help ensure consumer access to important health and safety information for non-prescription drugs.

Rite Aid, a New York corporation with over 400 stores statewide, settled concerns raised by Spitzer’s office that important health and safety information on over-the-counter (OTC) drug products was obscured by the placement of security stickers used to deter theft and shoplifting. The information concealed included: indications for use, ingredients, directions for use, warnings, cautions, recommended dosage, and how the drug may interact with other drugs the consumer may be taking.

Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s office earlier this year, it was found that Rite Aid had placed security stickers on the outside packaging of certain OTC drug products such as cold remedies, pain relievers, allergy pills, digestive aids, eye care products, and antibiotic ointments. The stores visited by the Attorney General’s investigators were located in Albany, New York City, and in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

"It is crucial that consumers have access to important information regarding interaction warnings for and proper usage of their non-prescription drugs. The failure to have access to all important label information can have serious health consequences," said Spitzer.

In settling the case, Rite Aid agreed to conduct a thorough review of all OTC products offered for sale in each of its New York stores and take necessary action to ensure that such products are not sold with health or safety information obscured. Rite Aid will also implement an ongoing training program for store personnel regarding the proper placement of security stickers to avoid obstructing health and safety information.

Rite Aid paid $40,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Stephen Mindell and Herbert Israel of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.