Two Pharmacy Chains Pay Civil Monetary Penalties to Resolve Alleged Violations of the Controlled Substances Act
CONCORD - Two national pharmacy chains agreed to pay civil monetary penalties to resolve allegations that they violated the Controlled Substances Act by filling fraudulent prescriptions, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreements, New Albertsons, L.P., d/b/a Osco Pharmacy agreed to pay $30,000 to resolve allegations that it had filled 13 fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances at its location in Stratham between December 1, 2013, and July 31, 2014. Additionally, Maxi Drug North, Inc., d/b/a Rite Aid agreed to pay a penalty of $22,500 to resolve allegations that it had filled 15 fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances at its location in Concord between December 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014.
The Controlled Substances Act prohibits the distribution or dispensing of a controlled substance without a valid prescription. A valid prescription for a controlled substance must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his or her practice. The investigations in both cases indicated that pharmacists at the pharmacies should have known that patients had presented fraudulent prescriptions that should not have been filled.
In entering into these civil settlements, both companies denied liability. Both companies also cooperated with the government’s investigations.
“Pharmacies and health care professionals must comply with their legal obligations in order to ensure that controlled substances do not end up in the wrong hands,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “When businesses or individuals fail to fulfill these obligations, drugs can be diverted into the black market or otherwise misused. We will not hesitate to use federal enforcement tools to ensure that members of the health care industry follow the law.”
“DEA registrants like Osco and Rite Aid have a corresponding responsibility to dispense controlled substances in accordance 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 that are devastating our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “Today’s settlements demonstrate DEA’s commitment to improve public safety and public health in New Hampshire.”
These cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Control Division. The cases were handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael McCormack.