Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' Pharmacy settles claims
MISSOULA, Colo. – The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Pharmacy and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have reached an agreement settling alleged pharmacy violations in which the pharmacy will pay a $95,520 civil penalty and take other steps to ensure compliance with federal law and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration regulations, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme announced.
The settlement agreement is the result of an inspection by the DEA for activity from March 2017 to March 2018. The DEA has the responsibility to inspect pharmacies or medical providers that dispense controlled substances to ensure they are complying with federal regulations. The regulations are designed to prevent the theft or diversion of controlled substances to unauthorized users.
The DEA conducted the inspection after it learned that approximately 2,500 oxycodone pills had been stolen or were unaccounted for from the Tribes’ pharmacy in St. Ignatius, on the Flathead Indian Reservation. During the investigation, the DEA discovered significant violations of the regulations, including failing to adequately track records of the controlled substances in the pharmacy and failing to report the missing oxycodone pills to the DEA.
“We appreciate the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes taking this issue seriously. It is our hope that this settlement and the tribe’s plan to bring the pharmacy into compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations requirements will prevent future diversion of controlled substances,” DEA Resident Agent in Charge for Montana Stacy Zinn-Brittain said.
“This settlement is an important step toward ensuring that opioids are properly controlled in the CSKT Pharmacy,” said U.S. Attorney Alme. “For the safety of the community, we need to ensure that the pharmacy is managed responsibly in the future. The penalty puts every pharmacy in Montana on notice that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA will vigorously enforce controlled substance regulations to prevent diversion of the prescription opioids that are harming our communities.”
In addition to the $95,520 penalty, the pharmacy also must take numerous measures to ensure compliance in the future. The pharmacy must conduct annual evaluations of its compliance for three years and certify to the DEA that it is meeting all regulatory requirements. If it has future violations, the pharmacy will be subject to a judgment for the full potential penalty of $240,640 for the alleged violations.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Dishong worked on the settlement agreement. The DEA’s Western Montana Tactical Diversion Squad investigated the case.