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Walgreens ordered to pay $16 million: judge

A court has ordered drug store chain, Walgreens, to pay $16.5 million for illegally dumping hazardous waste.

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A Walgreens store at Times Square in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Drugstore chain Walgreens has paid $16.57 million to settle a lawsuit which alleged it illegally dumped hazardous waste from its 600 stores.

AP reported a California judged ordered the settlement Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed in June by 35 California district attorneys and two city attorneys, alleged that Walgreens stores illegally disposed of items such as batteries, liquid corrosive waste, bleach, aerosol cans and pharmaceutical waste in company trash bins.

The trash was then sent to local landfills rather than authorized disposal sites, it claimed.

The company was also accused of unlawfully disposing of confidential customer records.

At a hearing in August prosecuters alleged Walgreens "systematically ignored those laws to cut costs", CNN News reported.

"This wasn't an isolated incident," the Alameda County District Attorney's Office said in a statement..

Walgreen's actions were systematic and statewide, and the company must be held accountable," Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich said in a statement Monday.

But a Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham told AP on Thursday the company did not acknowledge any wrongdoing and settled the case to avoid protracted litigation.

He said any hazardous materials were shipped to a hazardous waste disposal facility.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/121214/walgreens-ordered-pay-16-million-judge