Skip to main content
Press Release

New Haven Pharmacy and Owner Agree to Pay $120,000 to Settle Controlled Substances Act Allegations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Stephen Belleau, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, today announced that Cornerstone Pharmacy, Inc. (doing business as “Whalley Drug”), and its owner, Yong Kwon, have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal government and paid $120,000 to resolve allegations that they violated civil provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).

On June 22, 2021, the DEA served an Administrative Inspection Warrant on Whalley Drug, a retail pharmacy located in New Haven, owned by Kwon, a pharmacist.  During execution of the warrant, the DEA interviewed Kwon concerning patients who overdosed after filling prescriptions at Whalley Drug prescribed by certain area practitioners, and Kwon’s practices in filling prescriptions for controlled substances prescribed by area practitioners.  The DEA also audited Whalley Drug for its compliance with CSA recordkeeping requirements, which the government alleges revealed recordkeeping discrepancies for several controlled substances.

The government alleges that, between September 2017 and June 2021, Kwon and Whalley Drug filled prescriptions for controlled substances that had been issued without a legitimate medical purpose, in violation of the pharmacist’s corresponding responsibility to ensure that only valid prescriptions are dispensed.  The invalid prescriptions included prescriptions for controlled substances to individuals displaying red flags of abuse and addiction; prescriptions to individuals who received dangerous combinations of controlled substances, including the high-risk “holy trinity” drug combination of at least one opioid, benzodiazepine, and a muscle relaxant; excessive and unsafe amounts of benzodiazepines, including for extended periods of time; and one dosage unit of a controlled substance to an individual who was already concurrently receiving two additional dosage units of the same controlled substance from a different provider.

On June 22, 2021, Kwon agreed to voluntarily surrender the DEA license for Whalley Drug, which no longer operates as a retail pharmacy.

This investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control and the DEA New Haven’s Tactical Diversion Squad, with the assistance of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Drug Control Division.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Gruber.

Updated April 22, 2024

Prescription Drugs