HealthDay News — Walgreens’ high rate of violations for selling tobacco products to minors has led U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., to ask for a meeting with the company to discuss the issue.

In a statement Thursday, Gottlieb said that he is “deeply disturbed that a single pharmacy chain racked up almost 1,800 violations for selling tobacco products to minors across the country,” CNN reported. Gottlieb added that he has requested a meeting with Walgreen Co. to discuss whether there are companywide violations of the restrictions on selling tobacco products to minors and warned the company that it may face “additional enforcement avenues.”

The FDA is examining data on large national retail chains to identify those that have high rates of repeat violations of selling tobacco products to minors, CNN reported. Walgreens is the leading violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22 percent of inspected stores having illegally sold tobacco products to minors, the FDA said.

In an email, Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said the company takes this matter “very seriously,” and welcomes “the opportunity to meet with the FDA Administrator,” CNN reported. Walgreens has taken a number of steps to address this issue, including now requiring “identification for anyone purchasing tobacco products regardless of age in all of our stores nationwide,” Caruso added. “In addition, we are training all of our store team members on the new requirements and strengthening disciplinary actions against store employees who violate the policy.”

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