OCT 15 (MIAMI, Fla.) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announced the Federal Register publication of Holiday CVS, L.L.C., d/b/a CVS/Pharmacy Nos. 219 and 5195; Decision and Order, on October 12, 2012. The order is effective 30 day from the date of publication in the Federal Register. The ISO will remain in effect until then. The order also denies any pending applications of Holiday C.V.S., L.L.C., d/b/a CVS Pharmacy #219 (hereafter “CVS #219”), located at 3787 Orlando Drive, Stanford, Florida, and CVS Pharmacy #5195 (hereafter “CVS #5195), located at 4639 W 1 st Street, Stanford Florida. Both DEA registrations were set to expire on December 31, 2012.
On February 4, 2012, CVS #219 and #5195 were both served an Immediate Suspension Order (ISO) which suspended their ability to handle or distribute control substances such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. The ISO alleged that since 2010, CVS #219 and #5195 were an imminent danger to the public safety by dispensing controlled substances to customers under circumstances indicating that the drugs are diverted from legitimate channels, misused, or abused; and failing to maintain effective controls against diversion of controlled substances in violation of 21 C.F.R. § 1301.76.
On August 31, 2012, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart issued the Final Order to revoke both registrations as recommended by the Chief Administrative Law Judge (AJL), Judge John J. Mulrooney II, on June 8, 2012, based on the evidence presented during a consolidated hearing held from April 25, 2012, through April 30, 2012, in Arlington, Virginia.
The Final Order reveals testimonies heard during the consolidated hearing from Government witnesses and expert witnesses for both sides. For example, on October 18, 2011, an Administrative Inspection Warrant (AIW) was served on both CVS #219 and CVS #5195. Following the execution of the AIW, interviews of pharmacy personnel were conducted. An interview of the pharmacist in charge at CVS #5195 revealed that they set “a limit” each morning on the number of oxycodone prescriptions they would fill based on the inventory and amount of staff on hand. It was a “first come, first served system.” When the limit was reached, the pharmacy would advise customers that they were “out of stock,” even when they had inventory. When the pharmacist in charge was asked why this system was implemented, the response was that they had to keep a certain amount of oxycodone to fill legitimate prescriptions for “real pain patients.” Interviews with numerous pharmacy personnel revealed that customers would come in with prescriptions for oxycodone and asked for “the M’s” or “the Blues,” which are common street slang terms for Mallinckrodt Brand of oxycodone 30 mg tablets.
The hearing also revealed that since 2010, DEA Miami Diversion Investigators met with CVS officials and pharmacy supervisors on several occasions regarding prescription drug diversion. In particular a meeting in December 2010 was organized along with the Florida Department of Health to discuss the oxycodone situation in South Florida and the implementation of new Florida state laws that limited doctor’s ability to dispense. In August 2011, another meeting was organized by DEA Miami Diversion Investigators for the purpose of educating CVS pharmacy supervisor on detecting red flags that may indicate diversion.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “The evidence against the two CVS pharmacies is clear that they traded their sense of responsibility to public safety for sheer profit with their gross negligence to detect the diversion of prescription drugs. This latest action reflects the DEA Miami Field Division’s continued commitment to stay the course until this diversion is no longer a problem in Florida.”
This administrative action is part of the DEA Miami Field Division’s continuing efforts to combat the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic and its role as a major source of diverted pharmaceutical drugs to other states. On average, seven people die every day in Florida due to prescription drug abuse, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The DEA Miami Field Division’s efforts in recent years have included arrests and administrative and criminal actions against Florida doctors and individually owned pharmacies and pain clinics that operated outside the scope of legitimate medical purposes.A copy of the Final Order can be found on www.dea.gov, click on Operations, Diversion Control, Info and Legal Resource, and Cases Against Doctors.