OAKLAND -- Following up on a lawsuit filed earlier this year against drugstore giant Walgreen's, district attorneys representing more than half the counties in California asked a judge Monday to force the company to comply with state environmental laws.
District attorneys from 35 counties, including Alameda, accused the Illinois-based company in a June lawsuit of illegally dumping pharmaceutical and bio-hazardous wastes in the trash rather than sending the waste to authorized disposal sites.
According to the lawsuit, Walgreen's has "routinely and systematically" sent hazardous waste, including pharmaceuticals, automotive products and solvents, to local landfills for at least six years.
In a motion filed Monday seeking a preliminary injunction, the district attorneys argued that the company continues to dump illegal waste and must be ordered by a judge to stop.
Employees at all 32 Walgreen's stores in Alameda County in addition to more than 600 other stores across the state have been found to be dumping the materials into regular trash bins, the lawsuit alleges. In addition, a three-year-investigation found that the company has also mishandled confidential medical records of its customers by failing "to take proper steps to preserve the confidentiality of their pharmacy customers."
The lawsuit claims that Walgreen's violated the law in an effort to cut costs which resulted in employees improperly storing, handling and disposing
Walgreen's representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but in a quarterly report submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission in July, the company said it would work to resolve the issues.
"The Company intends to work with state and local officials in an effort to resolve this matter, but cannot predict the ultimate outcome of these efforts," the statement said.