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Walgreens reaches settlement over accusations of price gouging infant formula

The pharmacy chain has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty

Walgreens Boots Alliance has agreed to a settlement in a case alleging that Walgreens illegally raised prices on at least 20 products during the 2022 infant shortage, according to a statement from the New York attorney general’s office. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement Tuesday which accused Walgreens of illegally raising prices of baby formula, including Abbott’s Similac and Reckitt Benckiser’s Enfamil, by 10% or more following the February 2022 recall during a national shortage of the formula.

The pharmacy chain will have to pay a $50,000 penalty to resolve the investigation, in addition to donating 9,564 cans of baby formula (a wholesale value of $200,000) to the Met Council in Queens County, the FeedMore WNY, and the Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network in Buffalo, Erie County, according to a statement from James’ office.

The investigation into Walgreens price gouging of baby formula follows reports and consumer complaints about unreasonably high costs associated with the product, the statement said. 

“Baby formula is the main source of nutrients and absolutely essential for thousands of our most vulnerable residents, our infants,” James said in a statement. “During the formula shortage, families were panicked and struggling about how to feed their babies. For Walgreens to take advantage of this crisis and jack up formula prices is not only illegal, but downright shameful.

“The thousands of baby formula cans secured by my office will go directly to help New York families who need it most. Today’s agreement should also send a clear message that my office will not tolerate any company that attempts to price gouge our state’s consumers.”

Walgreens did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication of this story.

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