Group protests CVS 

Protestors gathered outside CVS Pharmacy at 38th and Emerson this afternoon in the hopes of alerting CVS customers and the community to foul business practices demonstrated by the pharmaceutical chain, including selling expired products and locking up condoms. The rally is part of a national effort hosted by Cure CVS Now, a campaign launched in December 2008 to stop CVS's poor business practices. Representatives from Cure CVS Now were at the Indianapolis rally, along with individuals from Planned Parenthood, Jobs With Justice, and National Organization for Women (NOW).

Leilani Montes, an Indianapolis-based Cure CVS Now organizer, helped orchestrate the rally in hopes to reach out to CVS consumers. "CVS needs to know that the community of Indianapolis is not going to tolerate expired products on the shelf. People are paying for quality products and they are not getting them." To illustrate the point, Montes set up a display of expired products at the rally, all purchased at Indianapolis CVS stores, ranging from Tylenol to Pediacare to Enfamil baby formula. Some products expired as much as 539 days prior to the date of purchase - with some dates of purchase as recent as June 7, 2009.

Similar protests took place today at CVS locations coast-to-coast in 15 cities, all organized by Cure CVS Now, all addressing a wide range of issues from overcharging customers to sharing personal medical information with third parties. The rally in Indianapolis focused heavily on expired products and locked condoms due to finding both in 46 of 122 stores spot checked this past month. According to Cure CVS Now's spot checks, locations with locked condoms are located in areas with the largest proportions of residents of color, while communities with a smaller minority population have condoms unlocked.

Melody Drnach, Vice President of National Organization for Women, believes there is a correlation between expired products and locked condoms and the community's demographic. "The stores where you find locked up products - condoms, soap, shampoo - are the same stores where you find expired food like milk and eggs," Drnach says. "We cannot live in a country where corporations target communities based on their demographics and offer lesser, different products."

Drnach was the first speaker at the rally, giving an impassioned talk about locked products and firing up the crowd with the chant "Shame on you!", directed at CVS CEO Tom Ryan. Cure CVS Now and affiliates have alerted Mr. Ryan to their concerns about the locked up condoms, issuing a letter signed by over 200 community groups all looking to make the condoms and other items more accessible to everyone, regardless of demographic.

Allison Luthe, a community organizer for Jobs with Justice, was also a speaker at the rally. Jobs With Justice held a meeting on May 21,, 2009, to bring to the forefront the issue of selling expired products. "We brought this to the stores' attention and to the public's attention. Since then, there have still been expired products found on the shelves," Luthe says. "We hold corporations accountable for what they're selling people. CVS needs to do something about the expired products."

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