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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Albany Pharmacist Pleads Guilty To Illegal Distribution Of Controlled Substances

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – An Albany, Kentucky, pharmacist has pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances, announced the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.   

Kenton L. Shearer was charged via an Information on January 10, 2020, with three counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances.

Between March 10, 2015, and April 15, 2015, Shearer filled, or allowed his employees to fill, prescriptions containing hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, for patient J.Y., even though Shearer knew that the prescriptions were not written for a legitimate medical purpose.  Shearer knew J.Y. was doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions for the same medications from multiple doctors, and because the hydrocodone polistirex (cough medicine) Dr. Michael Cummings prescribed to J.Y. had been prescribed for far longer than recommended in prescription guidelines.

Between August 16, 2011, and June 21, 2014, Shearer filled, or allowed his employees to fill, prescriptions containing hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, for patient J.Y., even though Shearer knew that the prescriptions were not written for a legitimate medical purpose. Shearer knew J.Y. was doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions for the same medications from multiple doctors, because the hydrocodone polistirex (cough medicine) Dr. Michael Cummings prescribed to J.Y. had been prescribed for far longer than recommended in prescription guidelines, and because Shearer filled prescriptions early on multiple occasions.

Between August 16, 2011, and April 8, 2015, Shearer filled, or allowed his employees to fill, prescriptions containing alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, for patient J.Y., even though Shearer knew that the prescriptions were not written for a legitimate medical purpose. Shearer knew J.Y. was doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions for the same medications from multiple doctors, and because Shearer filled prescriptions early on multiple occasions.

The United States will seek a sentence of 15 months in federal prison followed by a term of 3 years supervised release. The defendant has agreed to forfeit a $200,000 monetary judgment to the United State, which will be due on or before the sentencing date. Sentencing is set for May 14, 2020.

Dr. Michael Cummings was prosecuted by the United States and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment in July of 2019.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Weiser. The case was investigated by the Kentucky State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Office of the Inspector General.

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Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Updated January 28, 2020