For release on April 19, 2012  

Yen Dang, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
(408) 792-2818


After a seven year environmental investigation, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and prosecutors’ offices throughout the state have settled a civil law enforcement action against CVS Pharmacy, Inc. for $13.75 million in penalties. The settlement resolves allegations that CVS violated California laws intended to ensure the safe storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste.

“CVS came to the table early and worked quickly to get into compliance,’’ said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tina Nunes-Ober. “The result is a cleaner, safer environment and a level playing field for all similarly situated businesses.”

The California investigation was launched after environmental enforcement officials in Connecticut began probing alleged violations by the company, which is headquartered in Rhode Island. California inspectors conducted compliance checks at CVS stores and found evidence of improper storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste, including hypodermic needles and photographic chemicals. In Santa Clara County, some CVS employees were illegally throwing medications, aerosol cans and batteries in the trash.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office teamed up with the state and local inspectors, as well as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and other district attorney’s offices from around the state, to work with CVS to address the numerous violations. As a result of a settlement, statewide CVS stores must now properly store, handle, transport and dispose hazardous materials.    Dating back to 2005, violations were found at hundreds of California CVS stores and pharmacies.

Under the judgment signed April 16 in Ventura County Superior Court, CVS must pay $13.75 million in civil penalties and other costs. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will receive $110,000 in civil penalties and $5,000 for the cost of its prosecution.

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