Walgreens to Pay $275,000 to Settle Allegations About Service During Pandemic

The company is accused of making medication and vaccination errors.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Walgreens has agreed to pay a $275,000 fine to settle allegations that some of its Vermont stores temporarily closed without notice, had untenable working conditions for pharmacists and made medication and vaccination errors during the coronavirus pandemic, the secretary of state announced.

The Vermont Board of Pharmacy approved the fine as part of the settlement between the state Office of Professional Regulation and the national pharmacy chain, Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas said Wednesday, calling it a "big win for Vermont consumers."

"I am proud of the work our OPR investigators and attorneys have done to hold Walgreens accountable and to ensure safe conditions for patients and pharmacy staff," Copeland Hanzas said in a statement.

Walgreens said in a statement Thursday that "it disputes the accuracy of the state's allegations and admits no liability; however, we are pleased to have reached this settlement."

The fine follows an 18-month investigation after 70 complaints regarding conditions across Walgreens' 32 Vermont stores, the secretary of state's office said.

Walgreens signed a stipulation and consent order earlier this month with the state's prosecuting attorney. The order said the company has taken steps to improve, including by updating and standardizing policies and procedures for unanticipated pharmacy closings in Vermont; enabling patients to get their prescription filled at another pharmacy if there is a closing; and continuing to provide vaccine training to new and current pharmacy staff.

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