How did CVS allow product to be return?

Published On: Jun 29 2012 05:09:28 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 29 2012 10:18:29 PM EDT

The product was placed back on the shelves. JSO is launching a product tampering investigation. We looked at the company's return policy.


After police arrested a man they said repeatedly bought packs of enema saline laxatives from a CVS store, used them and returned them to the store, the question arises of how CVS allowed a product such as an enema to be returned in the first place.

"We'd look at the product, make sure it hasn't been used," Dr. Steve Stafford, of Roberts Southbank Pharmacy, said of accepting returns on the product. "If it has been and can't be reused, course we'd discuss that with the patient and probably wouldn't want to take it back."

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has launched a product tampering investigation after they said the customer at a Mandarin CVS bought several enemas over the course of weeks, used them and subsequently returned them.

Stafford said he knows all too well the importance of secure packaging.

"The outside packaging is closed and glued shut, and we would expect that kind of a package to come back," Stafford said.

With an item as personal as an enema, it begs the question whether there was a policy in place to prevent someone from returning a product like it to the store.

According to CVS' website, its current return policy allows customers to bring in any "unopened, damaged or defective non-prescription item."

John Phillips, a local attorney who specializes in both criminal and civil law, said while CVS was following its own store policy, something along the way should have raised a red flag.

"They've got three, four, five within the same store, within the same period. That's what raises concern and creates civil liability on CVS," Phillips said.

It's not just civil liability. Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said if the customer who did this is knowingly infected with some type of disease, any resulting criminal charges could be grave.

"If you know you have a known disease or ailment of some sort and you intentionally and willfully inflict that on someone else, that's a very serious offense," Jefferson said.

The bottom line, according to Phillips, is that despite the store return policy, a different decision -- a better decision -- should have been made.

"It's entirely within their discretion to take it back, and then it's entirely within their discretion to either send it back to the manufacturer or put it back on the shelf or discard it," Phillips said. "And here they did the worst of those three options and put it back on the shelves."

CVS said the Mandarin store on San Jose Boulevard at Sunbeam Road was the only store affected. CVS said it is reconsidering potential future enhancements to its current packaging.

If you believe you purchased an enema at that particular location between April 10 and June 12 should call 866-559-8861.


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