GRAND RAPIDS – U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Chief U.S. District Court Judge Hala Y. Jarbou entered a consent decree ordering Baldwin Pattie Drug Store, LLC (Pattie Drug), to discontinue dispensing controlled substances. The consent decree resolves allegations in a complaint filed by the United States against defendants Pattie Drug, a pharmacy located in Baldwin, MI, and its owner, Matthew Krawczak, for violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
“Lake County is one of Michigan’s most vulnerable communities in the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “The alleged misconduct in this case violates the core tenets of responsible dispensing of opioids by a pharmacy and its pharmacists. My office remains committed to using all the tools at our disposal to protect communities from this crisis.”
In its complaint, the United States alleged that the defendants stocked and dispensed a particular brand of hydrocodone, sometimes referred to as “Yellow Norcos,” that are commonly sought out by individuals for their purported abuse potential. The defendants allegedly ordered these yellow opioid pills to maintain a competitive advantage over other pharmacies and then dispensed these controlled substances to patients they believed were abusing drugs. The United States also alleged that the defendants failed to meet multiple recordkeeping obligations, including keeping accurate dispensing records. The complaint notes that when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigators inspected the pharmacy, an audit revealed thousands of unaccounted-for opioids, including hydrocodone pills. It also alleges that the DEA discovered that the defendants failed to submit annual certifications to DEA that pharmacy employees had been trained on CSA and DEA laws involving the sale of products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine directly to customers.
In the consent decree, Chief Judge Jarbou ordered the defendants to immediately comply with federal laws regarding dispensing of controlled substances and DEA recordkeeping. Within a set period, the consent decree permanently prevents Pattie Drug from dispensing controlled substances and orders it to surrender its DEA registration. The consent decree also prevents Krawczak from dispensing controlled substances in a pharmacy setting for ten years unless he is working under the supervision of another pharmacist in charge. Finally, the consent decree orders the defendants to pay a civil penalty between $10,000 to $30,000, negotiated based on the defendants’ inability to pay a larger settlement amount.
“The unlawful dispensing of controlled substances by a few healthcare practitioners throughout the country has caused immense harm to communities over the years,” stated DEA Detroit Acting Special Agent in Charge Jason Schumacher. “If the requirements of a proper prescription and adherence to procedure are not met, the men and women of DEA Diversion Control stand ready to hold these pharmacists accountable.”
The resolution obtained in this case was the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan and the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Hull prosecuted this case.
The complaint and consent decree in this case can be found on the Court’s online docket under United States v. Baldwin Pattie Drug Store, LLC, et al., No. 1:24-cv-70 (W.D. Mich.).
The claims resolved by the consent decree are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.