Rite Aid Marketing Practices Face FTC Scrutiny

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Pharmacy chain Rite Aid is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over "matters relating to consumer privacy and advertising practices," the company said yesterday in its quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Rite Aid disclosed few further details in its report to the SEC. Pharmacy marketing practices have faced scrutiny recently after another chain, Walgreens, and pharmaceutical developer Eli Lilly & Co. came under fire over allegations that they sent unsolicited samples of Prozac to consumers through the mail.

"We have not been accused of any wrongdoing and we are fully cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission," Rite Aid said in its SEC filing. "The investigation is in its preliminary stages and we cannot predict its outcome at this time."

Following the filing of a lawsuit over the summer by a Fort Lauderdale, FL, woman who claimed she received an unsolicited sample of Prozac in a Walgreens envelope, Walgreens claimed it only had issued a prescription authorized by doctors. A 16-year-old boy from West Palm Beach, FL, later also filed a suit on allegations that he, too, received a sample.

Eli Lilly has apologized for the unsolicited samples. Two medical practices accused of authorizing Walgreens to issue the drugs have also been sued.


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