Assistant U.S. Attorney Dylan M. Aste (619) 546-7621
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – June 26, 2018
SAN DIEGO – A pharmacy in Lakeside, California and its owners have paid $75,000 to resolve allegations that they failed to properly account for highly addictive and frequently abused opioids, including fentanyl.
The settlement is with Archana Corporation and its owners Rajeshbhai Zalavadiya and Ramesh Rakholia. The Archana Corporation, Zalavadiya, and Rakholia do business as Leo’s Lakeside Pharmacy.
This settlement arises from a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into Leo’s Lakeside Pharmacy’s opioid dispensing practices. In response to the Justice Department’s focus on combatting the opioid epidemic, the DEA has continued to conduct inspections and audits at pharmacies throughout the Southern District of California. Leo’s Lakeside Pharmacy was one of those pharmacies. Based on the DEA’s inventory audits, inspections, and other investigative activities, the United States asserts that Leo’s Lakeside Pharmacy violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The CSA applies to all registered controlled substances handlers, including pharmacies. The CSA also subjects registered pharmacies to strict requirements regarding inventory control and recordkeeping. These requirements ensure that pharmacies account for controlled substances from the time of purchase until they are dispensed to patients. The alleged violations include failure to keep accurate records associated with pharmaceutical fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone
“This settlement illustrates the United States Attorney’s Office’s continued commitment to combatting the opioid epidemic on all fronts,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “Part of our strategy is making sure that registered opioid handlers keep accurate records of these highly addictive and extremely dangerous drugs. All pharmacies, whether large or small, will be held accountable.”
In addition to paying $75,000 in settlement to the government, Leo’s Lakeside Pharmacy has committed to implementing new inventory control procedures to assure full accountability of all controlled substances. .
“This investigation is a reminder to the pharmacy community that lax recordkeeping opens the door to the diversion of highly addictive pharmaceuticals,” states Drug Enforcement Administration San Diego Field Division Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “These pills can and do make their way into the illegal distribution stream of narcotics which continue to fuel the opioid epidemic.”
Report illicit pharmaceutical activities and prescription abuse to DEA at 877-RX-Abuse (877-792-2873).
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dylan M. Aste of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the Drug Enforcement Administration.