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A lawsuit has been filed in Chicago's Cook County Circuit Court charging that Walgreen Co. "systematically defrauded customers" by putting expiration dates on prescription drug bottles that were earlier than those recommended by manufacturers, thus forcing customers to pay for new prescriptions earlier than necessary.

Attorneys in the case are seeking class action status for the filing.

Walgreen has conceded that its policy was to mark all such drugs as expiring one year from the date of sale, regardless of the manufacturer recommendation. Now, it says, if the medicine has not been repackaged, it has adjusted its policy to simply refer to the manufacturer's recommended expiration date.
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