United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Kingsburg Area Pharmacy Pays Civil Monetary Penalties To Resolve Controlled Substance Act Claims
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Friday, December 21, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today the successful resolution of a civil prosecution alleging violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) against Model Drug, Inc., a retail pharmacy located in Kingsburg, California.
Model Drug paid the government $250,000 and agreed to a three year compliance plan to settle the federal claims. According to the settlement agreement, the payment and plan resolve the United States’ claims, among others, that Model Drug failed to properly record hundreds of transactions involving controlled substances in violation of the CSA and its implementing regulations. The compliance plan with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is designed to advance the pharmacy’s ability to meet its record keeping requirements and enhance its ability to detect and prevent drug diversion in its prescription drug dispensing operations. The DEA commenced its investigation of Model Drug following the arrest and conviction of a former Model Drug employee for, among other things, possession and sale of diverted controlled substances, primarily hydrocodone.
“The CSA created a ‘closed system’ of controlled substance distribution so the DEA can better monitor the movement of prescription drugs from manufacturer to ultimate end user. This system reduces the opportunity for diversion of scheduled drugs that can have a useful and legitimate medical purpose for patients lawfully consuming these drugs. Unfortunately, however, the abuse of these same drugs is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem. If pharmacies are lax in their record keeping or supervision of their narcotics dispensing operations, opportunities arise for the diversion of prescription drugs to unintended users who may be injured by these powerful drugs. In addition to prosecuting CSA cases civilly and criminally to combat prescription drug abuse, my office is a principal member of the Action Committee on Teenage Prescription Drug Abuse, an interagency group dedicated to educating families and the community about the dangers of substance abuse,” stated United States Attorney Wagner.
“The pharmacies registered with DEA must realize that they have a responsibility for maintaining compliance with DEA record keeping requirements. Strict adherence to these regulations, the monitoring of their drug inventories, and initiation appropriate drug security measures contribute to the protection of the public by preventing the theft and illegal diversion of drugs known to have a high potential for abuse," stated Vince Villarta, DEA Diversion Group Supervisor.
Assistant United States Attorney Kurt A. Didier and DEA Diversion Investigator Rachel Aranas prosecuted the case.