Ontario government fines Costco $7 million after illegal pharmacy kickbacks

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Ontario's government has fined Costco more than $7 million after an investigation into illegal kickbacks at 29 pharmacies in warehouses across the province.Canadian Press/Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO — Ontario’s government has fined Costco more than $7 million after finding that the company accepted illegal kickbacks at 29 pharmacies in warehouses across the province from 2013 to 2015.

The Ontario Ministry of Health announced Friday it would penalize CWC Pharmacies (Ontario) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd., after it found the company received illegal advertising payments before August 2015.

Costco says it approached the ministry in 2015 for confirmation on the legality of the payments, which it had been receiving from generic drug manufacturers for advertising services.

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