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DEA Serves an Order to Show Cause on Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Fort Myers

FEB 22 (MIAMI) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division (MFD), served an Order to Show Cause (OSC) yesterday on Walgreens Corporation d/b/a Walgreens #03099, located at 1525 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL (hereafter “registrant”).  An OSC is served as a notice to a DEA registrant to provide them an opportunity to show cause as to why the DEA should not revoke their DEA registration because its registration is inconsistent with the public interest.  This administrative action does not affect a registrant’s ability to handle or distribute a controlled substance such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or other controlled substances in Schedules II – V.

On April 4, 2012, the DEA MFD Diversion Office served an Administrative Inspection Warrant (AIW) on the registrant, as well as five other Walgreens pharmacies in Florida and its Walgreens Distribution Center in Jupiter.  The AIWs served at the six Walgreens retail pharmacies were done so to determine if the pharmacies were dispensing prescriptions issued for legitimate medical purposes and in the course of professional practice. 

Based on the findings from the April 4th inspections, the Walgreens Distribution Center was served an Immediate Suspension Order (ISO) on September 14, 2012.  The ISO suspended the distribution center’s ability to handle controlled substances in Schedules II – V until a final decision is made by the DEA.  On November 27, 2012, OSCs were served on three Florida Walgreen’s pharmacies located in Fort Piece, Hudson, and Oviedo.  On February 5, 2013, a fourth OSC was served on Walgreens pharmacy located in Port Richey.  On February 12, 2013, the fifth OSC was served on Walgreens pharmacy located in Fort Pierce.  Today’s administrative action concludes the last of the six Walgreens pharmacy that was served an AIW.  An administrative hearing has been scheduled for April 23, 2013, for the Walgreens Distribution Center and the six Walgreens pharmacies.      

The registrant may file a written request with the DEA, within 30 days after the receipt of the OSC, for an opportunity of an administrative hearing to determine whether the DEA Certificate of Registration should be revoked. 

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug overdose deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths in 2009, and are responsible for more deaths than illegal street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.  Both in 2009 and the first six months of 2010, oxycodone and alprazolam caused the most drug related deaths in Florida.  Unfortunately this trend has continued into 2011 and 2012.  The DEA has utilized numerous resources to educate and work with the registrants and the public to battle this prescription drug abuse epidemic.

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