CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Family Discount Pharmacy, Inc. (“FDP”), which operated a pharmacy in Mount Gay, Logan County, has agreed to pay civil monetary penalties to resolve allegations that the pharmacy violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by filling illegitimate prescriptions. FDP ceased operating in 2019 during the course of the federal investigation. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, FDP agreed to pay $310,000 to resolve allegations that it had filled prescriptions for controlled substances that were not valid at its Mount Gay location between January 2013 and December 2018. During this time, the United States contends that FDP filled prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances “that were not written for a legitimate medical purpose by practitioners acting in the usual course of their professional medical practices and FDP’s Pharmacist in Charge, Earl Claycomb, filled said prescriptions knowing or having reason to know that the prescriptions were not written for a legitimate purpose, in violation of 21 C.F.R. § 1306.04(a) and 21 U.S.C. § 842(a)(1),” according to the settlement agreement.
The CSA 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 investigation indicated that the pharmacist-in-charge at the pharmacy knew or had reason to know that patients had presented illegitimate prescriptions that should not have been filled.
“When pharmacies fail to follow the requirements of the CSA it significantly contributes to the opioid epidemic, causing great harm to our citizens and communities,” stated United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “This settlement agreement demonstrates that my Office, the DEA and other federal, state and local law enforcement partners, are using all tools available to address the opioid crisis.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration will not allow unscrupulous pharmacies to prioritize financial gain over the well-being of patients entrusted to their care,” said Todd Scott, special agent in charge of DEA’s Louisville Division, which serves West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. “A pharmacist who fills illegitimate prescriptions is no different from a drug dealer on the street.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Alan G. McGonigal and Gregory P. Neil.
The settlement is a result of the United States Attorney’s Healthcare Fraud Abuse, Recovery and Response Team (ARREST), an innovative approach linking civil and criminal enforcement efforts together in a comprehensive attack on the opioid epidemic and healthcare fraud.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.
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