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ALBANY -- A survey of retail stores by the state attorney general's office found nearly a third were selling expired over-the-counter medications in violation of state law. The check of more than 100 stores statewide found 33 retailers selling at least one expired form of medication, said Paul Larrabee, a spokesman for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
Larrabee said some of the items had been expired for more than a year.
"Drugs may lose their potency and effectiveness over time," Spitzer said in a prepared statement. "It is important for retailers to check their stock periodically and remove outdated products. In addition, consumers should check expiration dates."
The attorney general said that while most expired medications were found on the shelves of convenience stores and discount drug stores, major supermarkets and pharmacies such as P&C Supermarkets, Price Chopper, Tops, Rite Aid, and CVS also were discovered to be in violation of the law, The Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch.
Twenty-nine of the 33 stores have settled their cases with the state, agreeing to pay a $500 fine for each brand of expired medication found to be more than a month out of date. Among the stores that had not settled are a 7-Eleven in Williamsville and Johnny's Super Service gas station in Ellenville, the report said.
Golub said the attorney general's settlement requires stores agree to have their cashiers validate all expiration dates during checkout, which is too lengthy a process, she said. She added that the state statute in question says stores cannot "knowingly" sell expired merchandise. Spitzer said stores refusing to take steps to improve compliance may face court action.