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FRESNO, Calif. — The Medicine Chest Pharmacy in Fresno has agreed to pay $27,500 to resolve allegations that it violated the Controlled Substances Act, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced today. The settlement was reached in October, the sale of the pharmacy and its assets has recently been completed.
According to the settlement agreement, the Medicine Chest Pharmacy improperly dispensed Schedule III and IV drugs and committed multiple recordkeeping violations. The Medicine Chest’s owner has also agreed to divest herself from any ownership interest in the pharmacy and will refrain from owning or operating any pharmacy for a period of five years.
The settlement relates to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation of the Medicine Chest beginning in Sept. 2018. A DEA administrative audit and inspection of the Medicine Chest revealed that the Pharmacy had dispensed multiple prescriptions in violation of the Controlled Substance Act and California law, including some prescriptions using the improper DEA registration number and prescriber’s name. Investigators also found that the Medicine Chest failed to complete an initial inventory when issued a DEA registration number and kept inaccurate records. The pharmacy failed to document the date on which certain controlled substances were received on invoices for Schedule III – V drugs.
“Pharmacies are a critical link in the drug distribution chain,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “They have an obligation to ensure that controlled substances are only dispensed in accordance with the law. They also must ensure that all drug transactions are properly documented and tracked to prevent drug diversion and abuse of powerful opioids and other potentially dangerous drugs. This settlement highlights our commitment to enforcing the Controlled Substances Act and protecting our citizens.”
“Accurate recordkeeping is an important part of the accountability chain in the distribution of controlled prescription drugs. When that chain is broken, it opens the door to the diversion of potentially addictive pharmaceuticals,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux. “DEA will continue to pursue those who do not carry out their due diligence, as required by law, to ensure compliance with the Controlled Substances Act.”
This settlement resulted from a coordinated effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. It was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey D. Wilson.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only. There has been no determination of liability.