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Press Release

North Carolina Pharmacy Agrees to Pay $100,000 for Filling Illegal Controlled Substances Prescriptions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of North Carolina

Durham, N.C. – Aspirar Pharmacy, LLC and Aspirar Pharmacy of Durham, LLC (collectively Aspirar Pharmacy), located in Cary and Durham, respectively, have agreed to pay the United States $100,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the Controlled Substances Act from 2017-2018 by filling prescriptions for a physician who lacked a valid state license.

The allegations involved physician Sharon Halliday, who obtained a faculty limited license in connection with her work at Duke University from the North Carolina Medical Board. A faculty limited license is intended to allow medical schools in North Carolina to benefit from expertise or specialized skills of physicians who are not otherwise eligible for full licensure in North Carolina. The faculty limited license only allows physicians holding such license to practice to the extent authorized by its sponsoring university.

The United States alleges that while Dr. Halliday possessed the faculty limited license, she prescribed controlled substances outside the scope permitted by Duke University. Aspirar Pharmacy, at both of its locations, filled these invalid prescriptions for Dr. Halliday. The allegations include that Aspirar Pharmacy failed to confirm the validity of Dr. Halliday’s license, thereby not fulfilling its corresponding responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act.

“An essential part of combatting the opioid epidemic is ensuring that pharmacies are held to the same standard as prescribers,” said Sandra J. Hairston, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. “Pharmacies cannot simply put their head in the sand when filling prescriptions and work under the assumption that the prescriber complied with their legal obligations.”

“The mission of DEA’s Office of Diversion Control is to prevent, detect and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “In this case, DEA Diversion investigators did an outstanding job of uncovering the reckless actions of Aspirar Pharmacy in filling prescriptions from a physician operating outside the scope of her limited license.

The DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to making sure healthcare providers are abiding by its mandates.”

In addition to the civil penalty payment, Aspirar Pharmacy has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Under the terms of the MOA, Aspirar Pharmacy has agreed to discontinue filling any prescriptions for Rapha Healthcare Services, LLC, the practice that Dr. Halliday owns and operates.

The resolutions obtained in this matter were the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Mayer investigated the matter.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.


Updated February 2, 2022