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CVS fined $1.5M by Ohio state over safety, staffing issues

The fines are part of a settlement of 27 cases involving various safety concerns

CVS Health has been fined over $1.5 million by Ohio regulators over issues connected to patient safety and staffing, according to officials.

The fines are part of a settlement of 27 cases involving various safety concerns that were uncovered during a series of inspections of 22 pharmacies between 2020 and 2023, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy said in a statement on Thursday.

CVS owns and operates approximately 350 retail pharmacies in the state of Ohio, according to the settlement agreement.

According to the statement from the board, it found improper drug security, errors dispensing drugs, prescription delays, lack of general cleanliness, understaffing, and failure to report losses of controlled substances, among other issues. 

The settlement comes as pharmacies nationwide continue to deal with labor issues, especially concerning pharmacist staffing. Last fall, some Walgreens and CVS pharmacy workers staged a walkout to call attention to what they say is an overwhelming and often unsafe working environment.

The Ohio board ultimately applied a $1.25 million penalty against CVS. The retailer will also pay some additional $250,000 to cover the costs “of enhanced monitoring” by the board over the next three years.

In addition to this settlement, the board also filed a set of rules with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) to strengthen regulations on working conditions in pharmacies. 

These rules, most of which CVS has voluntarily agreed to comply with as part of this settlement, include requirements for pharmacies to develop a process to address staffing concerns, provides mandatory rest breaks for pharmacy personnel, bans the use of quotas, and requires pharmacies to dispensing medications within a certain timeframe to avoid delays that could endanger patient health. 

In addition, eight stores will be placed on probation for three years, the board said.

CVS is eyeing growth in its pharmacy sector. In the retailer’s fourth quarter earnings call last month, CVS said it expects the profitability of its pharmacy segment to continue to grow in the year ahead.


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