Kingsport Veterinarian Agrees To Pay $70,000 In Civil Penalties To Settle Alleged Violations Of The Controlled Substance Act
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On July 15, 2021, The Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee, and its owner, Gary C. Andes, D.V.M., agreed to pay the United States $70,000 in civil penalties to resolve allegations that Dr. Andes and the hospital violated the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). The CSA was enacted to prevent the diversion or misuse of controlled substances by requiring persons and companies involved in the chain of distribution to maintain complete and accurate records relating to the controlled substances they receive, administer, and dispense.
According to the contentions of the United States contained in the settlement agreement, beginning in January 2019 investigators from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and Tennessee Department of Health (TNDOH), conducted an investigation into allegations that Dr. Andes and the hospital manager were failing to maintain effective controls and procedures to guard against diversion of controlled substances as required by law. The investigation included on-site inspections of records, and an accountability audit of controlled substance inventories and record-keeping processes at the hospital. Based on the findings of the investigation, the United States alleged that the hospital failed to maintain complete and accurate records of the controlled substances it received, failed to conduct proper inventories of controlled substances on hand, and failed to report to the DEA known thefts of controlled substances. The investigation also revealed significant shortages of various controlled substances received by the hospital. Today’s settlement resolves allegations that Dr. Andes and the hospital violated several provisions of the CSA from at least March 2017 through December 2018.
As part of the settlement, Dr. Andes and the hospital also entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the DEA requiring that they take additional and ongoing measures to comply with the CSA, including implementing stringent inventory and record-keeping requirements, agreeing not to maintain supplies of certain controlled substances at the hospital, and agreeing to cooperate with future audits by the DEA to verify their compliance with the CSA.
This settlement resulted from a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the DEA, the TBI, and the TNDOH.
Assistant United States Attorney Joseph C. Rodriguez represented the United States.
The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.