Long Island Pharmaceutical Company Pays $800,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Suspicious Orders of Controlled Substances to Internet Pharmacies
Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Office (DEA), announced today the filing of a consent judgment against Bellco Drug Corporation of North Amityville, New York, a distributor of pharmaceuticals, for failing to report suspicious orders of controlled substances to Internet pharmacies. Pursuant to the terms of the consent judgment, Bellco has paid a civil penalty of $800,000 and has agreed to surrender its DEA registration, which authorized the distribution of controlled substances. Bellco also agreed to divest itself of its entire inventory of controlled substances and chemicals regulated under the Controlled Substances Act.
The consent judgment settles a civil action brought by the United States for Bellco’s violations of the Controlled Substances Act. Federal regulations require distributors of controlled substances to notify the DEA of suspicious orders, typically, orders of unusual size or frequency. The government’s investigation disclosed that Bellco failed to report to the DEA suspicious orders for controlled substances from several Internet pharmacies located outside the New York metropolitan area, and, from January 2005 until April 2007, filled those orders with 2,288 shipments of hydrocodone, a painkiller that is regulated as a controlled substance because of its potential for abuse. According to the DEA, Internet pharmacies are of particular concern to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that patients ordering drugs through the Internet do so with the proper medical prescription and receive drugs that are not contaminated, adulterated, or without proper warnings and instructions.
“We will vigorously investigate and prosecute companies that do not live up to their legal responsibilities to report suspicious orders of pharmaceuticals in order to ensure that consumers who use the Internet to purchase drugs do so safely,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. Ms. Mauskopf added that the investigation is continuing.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “DEA is serious about decreasing the abuse of illegally dispensed pharmaceuticals. This investigation proves our commitment to uphold the Controlled Substance Act and keep our communities safe from the perils of all types of drug abuse.”
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elliot M. Schachner.
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