CVS to pay $535,000 for filling invalid prescriptions
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Pharmacy chain CVS Pharmacy, Inc., has agreed to pay $535,000 to resolve the United States’ allegations that several of its Rhode Island stores violated the federal Controlled Substances Act by filling invalid prescriptions, announced DEA New England Division Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle and United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman.
The settlement caps an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and the DEA Office of Diversion Control of CVS’s conduct at several of its Rhode Island retail pharmacy locations in filling prescriptions for controlled substances with a high potential for abuse. Under the Controlled Substances Act and its implementing regulations, substances such as painkillers and opioids can only be prescribed for legitimate medical purposes by a physician. The law, however, also places a “corresponding responsibility” on the pharmacist filling the prescription to ensure that the prescription is valid and legal.
In this case, the United States alleged that CVS retail pharmacies in Rhode Island filled thirty-nine prescriptions for Percocet, a Schedule II narcotic, that CVS pharmacists had reason to know were forged.
Under the terms of this civil resolution, CVS will pay a civil penalty of $535,000 for its alleged conduct in the State of Rhode Island. CVS, while acknowledging that its pharmacists bear a corresponding responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act, has denied wrongdoing in this case.
“DEA registrants like CVS have a corresponding responsibility to dispense controlled substances in accordance with the Controlled Substance Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Boyle. “Pharmacies put patients at risk when they dispense Schedule II narcotics, which have the highest potential for abuse, without a valid and legal prescription. Today’s settlement demonstrates DEA’s commitment to work with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure that these rules and regulations are followed.”
“This settlement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains committed to using all the legal tools at its disposal to ensure that everyone in the chain of controlled substance distribution -- from physicians to pharmacists -- abides by the strict requirements of the law,” said United States Attorney Weisman.