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CVS to pay $1.25M for 'dirty' stores, 'expired' medication in some Ohio locations

A CVS pharmacy drive-thru sign points to an overhang where a car is driving up to a drive-thru window and a person is walking on a patch of grass.
Amy Sancetta
In this Aug. 3, 2006, file photo, customers take advantage of the drive through pharmacy window outside a CVS drug store in Bainbridge Township, Ohio.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy reached a settlement with 22 CVS stores around the state in connection with dozens of violations including loose pills on pharmacy floors, expired medications and, in at least one instance, giving a customer the wrong medication.

In a statement, the Board of Pharmacy said CVS will pay $1.25 million to resolve the violations. CVS must also make changes to its current electronic recordkeeping system and “appoint an Ohio Compliance Liaison, a role to be filled by a licensed Ohio pharmacist, to act as a channel for communications between the Board and CVS regarding compliance with state and federal pharmacy laws and rules.”

The stores with violations pertaining to the settlement include:

  • 118 W. Garfield Road, Aurora
  • 34 Shopping Plaza Drive, Chagrin Falls
  • 200 South Second Street, Coshocton
  • 2532 E. Main Street, Columbus
  • 2801 Far Hill Ave., Dayton
  • 5981 Far Hills Ave., Dayton
  • 1300 Wilmington Ave., Dayton
  • 2375 Beechwood Drive, Germantown
  • 605 Columbus Ave., Lebanon
  • 1130 Lincoln Way East, Massillon
  • 1785 Woodman Drive, Kettering
  • 265 East Erie Street, Painesville
  • 2987 Derr Road, Springfield
  • 2217 Sunset Blvd. Steubenville
  • 4121 Monroe Street, Toledo
  • 8467 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg
  • 9666 Olde US 20, Rossford
  • 145 South State Street, Westerville
  • 6005 Som Center Road, Willoughby
  • 28700 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills
  • 2284 Back Orrville Road, Wooster
  • 35 S. Allison Avenue, Xenia

Eight of the stores will be placed on probation for three years:

  • 2532 E. Main Street, Columbus
  • 200 South Second Street, Coshocton
  • 1130 Lincoln Way East, Massillon
  • 2801 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood
  • 8467 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg
  • 2987 Derr Road, Springfield
  • 4121 Monroe Street, Toledo
  • 2284 Back Orrville Road, Wooster

“CVS will pay approximately $83,333 per year to the Board to cover the cost of enhanced monitoring by the Board, for a total additional penalty of $250,000,” the Board of Pharmacy outlined in a statement.

The violations addressed in the settlement include:

  • On January 13, 2022, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy investigated an incident at the Willoughby location where a patient was dispensed the wrong medication. “Patient 1 received the incorrect medication," the report said. "Patient 1 ingested approximately 27 tablets of the incorrect medication and experienced adverse effects including increased anxiety, rapid heart rate, and sweating.”
  • Documents filed with the state showed “numerous pills were observed on the floor of the pharmacy,” at the Wooster CVS on January 12, 2022.
  • The Reynoldsburg CVS was written up on December 13, 2021, when it was discovered “at least 480 prescriptions were past due.” Unfilled prescription orders at the same location went back nine months.
  • On May 17, 2021, during the COVID 19 pandemic, inspectors reviewing the Chagrin Falls CVS discovered, “a vaccine vial was observed at room temperature and not labeled with the time it was removed from the freezer, or a beyond use date”. On that same day in Chagrin Falls, the inspector from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy found “there were no COVID-19 waivers issued by the Board that permitted [pharmacist] to administer vaccines while his BLS certification was expired.”
  • On February 1, 2023, the Springfield CVS received a violation for clutter and debris, “seven bags full of trash, trash cans were overflowing, and dangerous drugs were on the floor.”
  • Understaffing and intermittent pharmacy closures were also common themes in the lengthy violation reports. One report indicated staff at the CVS knew something needed to change. “The pharmacy is understaffed, the responsible person does not have access to post positions, and staff does not believe the lack of staff has been addressed by district leaders,” the violation report stated.

Josh Boose is associate producer for newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.