Walgreens, which has a district office here and pharmacies in Pleasanton and Livermore, agreed to pay $502,200 in a settlement with Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley over the failure of its pharmacists to properly counsel prescription customers.
The settlement follows a civil complaint filed in San Diego Superior Court that alleged that California Walgreens pharmacists frequently failed to comply fully with the California State Board of Pharmacy Board's rules requiring personal pharmacist consultations when prescription drug customers receive new prescriptions or new dosages of existing prescriptions.
In 2011 the board contacted O'Malley and two other district attorney offices concerning health risks that could arise if consultations were not given. Working with the board, O'Malley's and the other offices conducted undercover investigations of the consultation practices of a number of the major pharmacy chains in California.
Under the terms of the judgment, which was entered without admission of liability, Walgreens was ordered to comply properly with California's standards for patient consultations, and must fully implement an internal compliance program.
In the settlement, Walgreens agreed to pay agency investigative costs of $79,200 and civil penalties totaling $423,000.
"The collaboration of the three D.A. offices and the State Board of Pharmacy resulted in this settlement," O'Malley said.
She added: "Pharmacist consultations are imperative to make certain that prescriptions have been filled according to a doctor's order, as well as to advise the patient of proper and safe usage of the medication. My office remains dedicated to ensuring that the public has access to knowledge and education regarding the use of all prescription drugs."