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DEA Serves Another Walgreens Pharmacy an Order to Show Cause

FEB 06 (MIAMI) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division (MFD),   served an Order to Show Cause (OSC) yesterday on Walgreens Corporation d/b/a Walgreens #03836, located at 9332 U.S. Highway 19, Port Richey, FL (hereafter “registrant”).  An OSC is served as a notice to a DEA registrant to provide them an opportunity to show cause as to why the DEA should not revoke their DEA registration because its registration is inconsistent with the public interest.  This administrative action does not suspend a registrant’s ability to handle or distribute a controlled substance such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or other controlled substances in Schedules II – V.

On April 4, 2012, the DEA Miami Diversion Office served an Administrative Inspection Warrant (AIW) on the registrants, as well as five other Walgreens pharmacies in Florida and its Walgreens Distribution Center in Jupiter.  The AIWs served at the six Walgreens retail pharmacies were done so to determine if the pharmacies were dispensing prescriptions issued for legitimate medical purposes and in the course of professional practice. 

Based on the finding from the April 4th inspections, the Walgreens Distribution Center was served an Immediate Suspension of Registration on September 14, 2012.  In addition, on November 27, 2012, OSCs were served on three Florida Walgreens pharmacies located Fort Piece, Hudson, and Oviedo. An administrative hearing has been scheduled for February 24, 2013, for the Walgreens Distribution Center and the three Walgreens pharmacies. 

The registrant may file a written request with the DEA, within 30 days after the receipt of the OSC, for an administrative hearing to determine whether the DEA Certificate of Registration should be revoked. 

This administrative action is part of the DEA MFD’s ongoing effort to combat the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic and its role as a major source to other states of diverted pharmaceutical drugs.  The efforts in recent years have gone beyond arrests and criminal actions against Florida doctors, pain clinic personnel, and individually owned pharmacies that operated outside the scope of legitimate medical purposes.  The DEA has utilized numerous resources to educate and work with the registrants and the public to battle this epidemic. 

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug overdose deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths in 2009, and are responsible for more deaths than illegal street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.  Both in 2009 and the first six months of 2010, oxycodone and alprazolam caused the most drug related deaths in Florida.  Unfortunately this trend has continued into 2011 and 2012.

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