Today the FDA announced the action taken against Walgreens and a Circle K store, in which the agency asked a federal judge to temporarily block the sales of tobaccos products while mandating a stronger crackdown on sales to minors within the chain of stores.
This push for change is the most tactical action the agency can make and urge big retailers that violate state laws about tobacco and e-cigarette products to change their ways of operating.
The current Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that he is asking to meet with the Walgreens management about its recent violations and accusations. He expressed his concern saying, “deeply disturbed that a single pharmacy chain racked up almost 1,800 violations for selling tobacco products to minors across the country.”
The actions stem from accusations that focused on a Walgreens in Miami and a South Carolina Circle K that each acquired more than five violations throughout three months.
According to the FDA Walgreens was chief violator among those accused nationwide, with almost 22 percent of inspected stores selling illegally to minors. Thousands of warning letters that the agency had sent along with hundred of fines to Walgreens and Circle K had little to no success, which led to taking the final step of blocking all sales.
The giant pharmacy chain CVS has banned tobacco sales completely, while Walgreen shareholders have repeatedly raised concern about the practices taking place.
A report from Walgreens claimed that it was now training store employees on tobacco sale requirements and strengthening disciplinary actions against those who violate the policy. The pharmacy said it would welcome a meeting with the Commissioner.
The agency’s inspections and the judges focus on no sale orders on cigars, and menthol cigarettes come in time with just recently taking the same action against ” vape pens” or e-cigarettes. Last summer the FDA issued warning letters to thousands of stores for selling vapor products like the “JUUL” to minors.
The agency and commissioner announced that they are evaluating multiple other chains and could take further actions, in stores including Walmart, Dollar General, and Rite Aid as possible suspects.