Missouri judge fines Walgreens $309,000 in pricing case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A judge on Friday ordered Walgreens to pay $309,000 for violating an agreement between the drugstore chain and the state of Missouri over allegedly deceptive pricing, the state’s attorney general said.

A Jackson County judge assessed a $1,000 penalty for each of the 309 times Walgreens was found to have left sales tags on the shelves after the sales period ended, Attorney General Chris Koster said. Koster says that was in violation of a 2014 deal mean to halt suspected overcharging of customers.

That consent agreement barred Walgreens from leaving expired sales tags on display more than 12 hours from the time the offer expired.

Koster also sought a finding of contempt against Walgreens, but the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence that the violations were intentional.

Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. issued a statement Friday saying the judge’s ruling was consistent with the company’s decision last year to take part in an auditing program under which it would pay fines for violating the consent agreement’s terms.

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision to deny the motion for contempt,” the company said. “In the spirit of our agreement last year with the attorney general, we will continue to work to ensure pricing accuracy on behalf of consumers across Missouri.”