Pharmacy Chain Settles Improper Dispensing and Recordkeeping Allegations
BOSTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office reached a $200,000 civil settlement today with Hamid Mohaghegh, Fitchburg Family Pharmacy, Inc., Gardner Family Pharmacy, Inc., and Worcester Family Pharmacy, Inc., in connection with the improper dispensing of Schedule II controlled substances and flawed recordkeeping by eight retail pharmacy stores that were owned and operated by Mohaghegh in 2016.
“Controlled substances handled by pharmacies are subject to strict requirements because of their potential for harm and abuse,” stated United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “For the sake of patient safety, and to ensure that medications are not stolen or sold on the street, we will continue to monitor pharmacies to ensure that they comply with all legal requirements related to the handling, dispensing, and recordkeeping of controlled substances.”
“Schedule II medications are extremely addictive. Pharmacies may not dispense them without a prescription signed by a doctor who has the authority to prescribe such substances,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “DEA registrants are responsible for ensuring that complete and accurate records are being properly kept and accounted for in compliance with the Controlled Substances Act. When these responsibilities are not adhered to, it allows for the diversion of prescription pain medication, which contributes to the widespread abuse of opiates, is a gateway to heroin addiction, and is devastating our communities.”
Mr. Mohaghegh owns several retail pharmacies in Massachusetts. According to the settlement, pharmacists and staff at his stores failed to comply with recordkeeping and other requirements of the Controlled Substances Act on multiple occasions. The violations included filling Suboxone prescriptions by a provider who was not certified to prescribe the drug and not immediately reporting the theft or loss of controlled substances to DEA.
U.S. Attorney Lelling and DEA SAC Ferguson made the announcement today. The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Annapurna Balakrishna of Lelling’s Civil Division.