September 09, 2019
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Two Pharmacy chains pay civil monetary penalties to resolve alleged violations of the Controlled Substance Act
CONCORD, N.H. – DEA New England Division Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle and United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced two national pharmacy chains agreed to pay civil monetary penalties to resolve allegations they violated the Controlled Substances Act by filling fraudulent prescriptions.
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreements, New Albertsons, L.P., d/b/a Osco Pharmacy agreed to pay $30,000 to resolve allegations it had filled 13 fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances at its location in Stratham, N.H. between Dec. 1, 2013, and July 31, 2014. Additionally, Maxi Drug North, Inc., d/b/a Rite Aid agreed to pay a penalty of $22,500 to resolve allegations it had filled 15 fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances at its location in Concord, N.H. between Dec. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014.
The Controlled Substances Act prohibits the distribution or dispensing of a controlled substance without a valid prescription. A valid prescription for a controlled substance must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his or her practice. The investigations in both cases indicated that pharmacists at the pharmacies should have known patients had presented fraudulent prescriptions that should not have been filled.
In entering into these civil settlements, both companies denied liability. Both companies also cooperated with the government’s investigations.
“DEA registrants like Osco and Rite Aid have a corresponding responsibility to dispense controlled substances in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act. When these responsibilities are not adhered to, it allows for the diversion of prescription pain medication which contributes to the widespread abuse of opiates that are devastating our communities,” said Boyle. “Today’s settlements demonstrate DEA’s commitment to improve public safety and public health in New Hampshire.”
“Pharmacies and health care professionals must comply with their legal obligations in order to ensure that controlled substances do not end up in the wrong hands,” said Murray. “When businesses or individuals fail to fulfill these obligations, drugs can be diverted into the black market or otherwise misused. We will not hesitate to use federal enforcement tools to ensure that members of the health care industry follow the law.”
These cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Control Division.