Medications lose effectiveness in high temperatures, and the state made it clear that when that happens, drug retailers must protect the validity of their products by quarantining them in such a way that they remain within specific temperature guidelines. The state attorney general’s office fined CVS Pharmacy more than $500,000 this week for operating as normal during the summer of 2012 at two locations, despite being without air conditioning for more than 72 hours. The locations were in Scotch Plains and Clark.
No injuries and illnesses resulting from the outages were reported.
Nevertheless, Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said, “Consumers expect pharmacies to closely guard the integrity and quality of medications, infant formula and other items that are essential to the public health. Any deviation from this responsibility is unacceptable.”
In addition to the fine, CVS agreed to convert its New Jersey stores to web-accessible systems to monitor and report on temperatures, establish protocols to inspect merchandise, notify corporate headquarters about outages, change its New Jersey HVAC service provider, and assign new field leadership to the problem