You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Farm Fresh Agrees to $1 Million Settlement to Resolve Civil Claims

NORFOLK, Va. – FF Acquisition, Inc. (Farm Fresh), headquartered in Virginia Beach, has agreed to pay $1 million to settle civil penalty claims stemming from alleged record-keeping violations by its pharmacies.

“The abuse of prescription drugs is one of the most alarming and critical issues we face today,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “To combat this problem, it is crucial that those who dispense controlled substances comply with record-keeping requirements. These requirements help to prevent the illegal diversion of prescription drugs, and holding registrants accountable serves a vital role in our office’s effort to combat every manner of the opioid crises affecting Virginia.”

Farm Fresh operated 34 pharmacies primarily in the Norfolk area. Each pharmacy was registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which allowed Farm Fresh to maintain and dispense controlled substances, including opioids, at those locations.

“The abuse of prescription drugs has directly resulted in the escalation of heroin addiction and related overdoses,” said Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA’s Washington Field Division. “Today's settlement sends a clear message to all pharmacies that it is essential to dispense controlled substances in compliance with DEA's record keeping requirements. DEA is dedicated to combatting the prescription drug abuse problem in Virginia and throughout the country and to hold all DEA registrants accountable.”

The United States alleges that between Sept. 9, 2014 and Sept. 21, 2016, Farm Fresh pharmacies violated the Controlled Substances Act by failing to record dates and quantities of controlled substances shipped and received, by failing to record the DEA numbers of suppliers, and failing to timely notify the DEA of theft losses. These failures occurred despite several of the pharmacies having received Letters of Admonition from DEA for failing to properly complete and maintain the required records.

Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), to combat the illegal distribution and abuse of controlled substances, including prescription medications. Under the CSA, entities registered with the DEA who purchase, distribute, dispense, transfer, or sell controlled substances must comply with inventory and documentation requirements. Regulations promulgated under the CSA require that each DEA registrant, including pharmacies, maintain complete and accurate records of each substance manufactured, received, sold, delivered, dispensed or otherwise disposed of by the registrant for two years. These requirements play a vital role in ensuring the appropriate handling, accounting, and distribution of controlled substances.

The resolution obtained in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the DEA’s Washington Division. The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Wuerker.

The civil claims settled are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated January 29, 2019