Koster to announce legal action against Walgreen Co.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - 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.
"My office's 2013 investigation showed a relationship between expired tags and consumers being overcharged at the register," Koster said in a news release. "Consumers should not have to dig through outdated and incorrect information to find out the true price of any item."
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.
Koster said his office visited 50 Walgreen stores around Missouri from July 26 through Sept. 1 and found expired sales tags in 49 of the stores. In a court order, Walgreen promised to remove tags within 12 hours of their expiration, but Koster said his office found hundreds of tags that were weeks old and two that had expired in 2013.
"I promised Missouri consumers that we were going to stay on Walgreens' back until it corrected its deceptive ways," Koster said. "It is the stores' responsibility to ensure fair and accurate pricing. We are not going to quit until Walgreens gets it right."
Walgreen said it may publicly comment later Tuesday. The company is based in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the most recent information.]