CASPER PHARMACY AGREES TO $1 MILLION SETTLEMENT OF ALLEGATIONS OF VIOLATIONS OF THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Wyoming
United States Attorney Mark Klaassen, along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge Deanne Reuter announced a recent civil settlement involving the Osco pharmacy located at 1076 CY Avenue in Casper, Wyoming, which is owned and operated by Albertsons LLC. On January 21, 2020, Albertsons agreed to pay one million dollars to resolve allegations that its Casper-based pharmacy had committed numerous violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The allegations in this case arose from the broader investigation of Casper physician Shakeel Khan, who was convicted on May 24, 2019 and sentenced on August 12, 2019 for “Unlawfully Distributing and/or Dispensing Oxycodone which resulted in the death of another” and “Knowingly Aiding and Abetting Another in Dispensing/Distributing Oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose” and conspiracy to do the same. While investigating Dr. Khan’s illegal prescribing practices, investigators became concerned about the role of Casper-area pharmacies in filling prescriptions Dr. Khan provided to his patients.
As a safeguard against such abusive prescribing practices, pharmacies are required under the CSA to verify that each prescription is issued for a legitimate medical purpose. The CSA prohibits a pharmacy from dispensing controlled substances pursuant to an illegitimate or invalid prescription.
An audit of the Albertsons Osco Pharmacy #60 in Casper revealed a number of alleged violations of the CSA that occurred between October 15, 2015 and February 28, 2017. Investigators uncovered 128 instances of patients filling prescriptions for unusually large quantities and dosages of narcotics; patients utilizing multiple pharmacies to fill prescriptions; or third parties filling prescriptions for out-of-state patients. Additional record keeping violations were also discovered.
The settlement agreement avoids further litigation, but is not an admission of liability by Albertsons, or a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.
“This case is an example of how we must fight prescription drug abuse on both the supply and demand side,” said United States Attorney Mark Klaassen. “We not only focus on users who seek prescription pills for illicit purposes, but also on doctors who may abuse their prescribing authority, and pharmacies who fail to exercise diligence in monitoring prescriptions as required by law.”
“This settlement reflects the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ongoing commitment to utilize all of the tools at its disposal to fight the opioid epidemic, hold the medical and pharmaceutical communities responsible for violations, and protect the citizens of Wyoming,” said DEA Cheyenne Resident Agent in Charge David Tyree.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA Cheyenne Resident Office Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS), in conjunction with the DEA Salt Lake City TDS. Assistant United States Attorney Levi Martin represented the United States.
Updated January 28, 2020
Press Release Number: 20-004