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DEA Denver Field Division Investigates Walgreens as Part of National Investigation; Settlement Announced in Which Walgreens Agrees to Pay $80 Million for Violations of the Controlled Substances Act

JUNE 12 (DENVER) –Walgreens Corporation (Walgreens), the nation’s largest drug store chain, has agreed to pay $80 million in civil penalties for violations of the Controlled Substances Act, resolving an investigation in which the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the DEA’s Denver Field Division participated.  The agreement was announced by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.  The United States Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Michigan and the Eastern District of New York also participated.   

The DEA Denver Field Division and the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office identified more than 1,600 violations of the Controlled Substances Act at Walgreens stores located in Colorado.  The majority of these violations were found at Walgreens stores located in Canon City and Pueblo.  The investigation uncovered instances of Walgreens stores filling fraudulent prescriptions, filling prescriptions written by a physician with an expired DEA registration, filling prescriptions lacking an address and/or DEA registration number in violation of DEA regulations, and dispensing controlled substances to customers without a prescription.  The investigation also uncovered hundreds of examples of inaccurate or incomplete recordkeeping for controlled substances at Walgreens stores located throughout Colorado.  Such inaccurate or incomplete recordkeeping violates the Controlled Substances Act. 

“Accurate and efficient record-keeping and administrative procedures are critical for the safe dispensing and use of pharmaceutical drugs.  As this case shows, DEA will ensure that DEA registrants adhere to the law to protect public health and safety, or face the consequences for failing to do so,” said Barbra Roach, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Denver Division.

“Stores that sell controlled substances must keep careful track of their inventory,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Those that don’t, like Walgreens in this case, face severe penalties, like the record $80 million penalty announced today.”

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