Missouri AG: Walgreen pricing still deceives consumers

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(photo courtesy of FOX 4 photojournalist Ron Kirsch)

ST. LOUIS — Missouri’s attorney general is taking Walgreen Co. back to court, alleging the nation’s biggest pharmacy chain is violating a settlement reached last year over its pricing practices.

Attorney General Chris Koster’s office asked a judge Tuesday to hold Walgreen in contempt for violating terms of the 2014 deal.

Koster sued Walgreen in 2013, accusing the retailer of overcharging customers and using deceptive advertising and pricing schemes in Missouri. Koster says the investigation began after consumers complained that display prices didn’t match up with what they paid at checkout.

But Koster alleges Walgreen violated the settlement by not removing expired sales tags from shelves, and deceiving customers about those products’ prices, in roughly 1,300 recent instances.

Walgreen said it may publicly comment later Tuesday. The company is based in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.

On Tuesday, a Walgreens Media Relations representative sent this statement to FOX 4:

“More than a year ago, we entered into an agreement with the Missouri Attorney General that specifically provided for communication and cooperative efforts between Walgreens and the Attorney General’s office to ensure improved pricing accuracy across our stores. A critical component of that agreement included ongoing audits conducted by an independent third party selected in conjunction with the Attorney General where all stores in Missouri would be audited at least once a year, and quarterly results of these audits were reviewed by an independent CPA and the Attorney General’s office. We believe this process is in our customers’ best interests and we will continue to work with the Attorney General’s office in order to ensure pricing accuracy on behalf of consumers across Missouri. We are committed to continuing to earn our customers’ trust and loyalty.”