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updated 10/14/2010 1:48:37 PM ET 2010-10-14T17:48:37

CVS Pharmacy Inc. has agreed to pay $75 million in fines for allowing repeated purchases of a key methamphetamine ingredient that led to a spike in Southern California drug trafficking, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

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It was the largest civil penalty under the Controlled Substances Act.

CVS, the nation's largest operator of retail pharmacies, will also forfeit about $2.6 million in profits from pseudoephedrine, prosecutors said.

Authorities said CVS didn't adequately monitor sales of pseudoephedrine, which is found in cold medicine and used to make meth.

They also said the company violated federal drug regulations in at least five states.

CVS Chairman and CEO Thomas Ryan says the company unacceptably breached its policies and has worked to fix the problem.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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