Court Orders Walgreens to Pay $16.57 Million for Statewide Environmental Violations

In Santa Clara County, 54 Walgreens stores were found in violation of state environmental law.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge Thursday ordered the Illinois-based pharmacy company Walgreen Co. pay $16.57 million as part of a settlement for apparent environmental violations.

Together, 42 state district attorney offices and two city attorney offices filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company in June in Alameda County for illegal waste disposal and improper handling of confidential medical information.

Mountain View has three Walgreens.

The lawsuit was led by dozens of state and city offices including the district attorney's offices of Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Monterey and San Francisco counties.

"Dangerous waste and private medical information must both be handled and disposed of in a safe and lawful manner," Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tina Nunes-Ober said. "Companies need to ensure that the
environment is protected and that private medical information does not end up in the wrong hands."

The lawsuit claimed more than 600 Walgreens stores statewide unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous waste and materials for more than six years. Some of the waste allegedly dumped was pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and other hazardous waste, the suit claimed.

The case originated from an investigation by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and local environmental health agencies.

The settlement also resolves allegations that Walgreens unlawfully disposed of customer records containing confidential medical information risking confidentiality.

Under the settlement, each county and party in the lawsuit will receive various amounts in damages. For instance, in Santa Clara County where 54 stores were found in violation of state environmental law, the district attorney's office will receive about $163,750, in penalties and costs.

The final judgment orders Walgreens to pay $16.57 million in civil penalties and costs. The money, in part, will fund environmental projects that will assist in enforcing California’s environmental and consumer protection laws.

Because of the judgment, Walgreens must have more stringent waste disposal procedures and regulation. Additionally, the company is required to take proper steps to ensure confidentially of pharmacy customer information.

Walgreen Co. representatives were not immediately available to provide comment on the settlement.

Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc.—Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.


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Patricia Reardon December 14, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Next, let's Investigate the Sunday coupon ads that stores often repot not having items in stock. I finally stopped shopping at Walgreens as they habitually gave the excuses of being out of sale items until their next delivery. On days referred to as deliveries, they report that they r sold out. This problem has habitually happened in both Calif and New York where we own seasonal property. I have never been able to complete a Sunday coupon ad list.
Claudia Cruz January 09, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Thanks for the comment Patricia. This definitely gives me an idea for an investigative story! I wonder if I could complete a Sunday coupon ad list?


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