North Carolina Pharmacy Agrees to Pay $100,000 Fine
Penalty Levied on Pharmacy for Filling Illegal Controlled Substances Prescriptions
DURHAM, N.C. – Aspirar Pharmacy, LLC and Aspirar Pharmacy of Durham, LLC (collectively Aspirar Pharmacy), located in Cary and Durham, North Carolina, respectively, have agreed to pay the United States $100,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the Controlled Substances Act from 2017-2018 by filling prescriptions for a physician who lacked a valid state license.
The allegations involved physician Sharon Halliday, who obtained a faculty limited license in connection with her work at Duke University from the North Carolina Medical Board. A faculty limited license is intended to allow medical schools in North Carolina to benefit from expertise or specialized skills of physicians who are not otherwise eligible for full licensure in North Carolina. The faculty limited license only allows physicians holding such license to practice to the extent authorized by its sponsoring university.
The United States alleges that while Halliday possessed the faculty limited license, she prescribed controlled substances outside the scope permitted by Duke University. Aspirar Pharmacy, at both of its locations, filled these invalid prescriptions for Halliday. The allegations include that Aspirar Pharmacy failed to confirm the validity of Halliday’s license, thereby not fulfilling its corresponding responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act.
“The mission of DEA’s Office of Diversion Control is to prevent, detect and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “In this case, DEA Diversion investigators did an outstanding job of uncovering the reckless actions of Aspirar Pharmacy in filling prescriptions from a physician operating outside the scope of her limited license.”
“An essential part of combatting the opioid epidemic is ensuring that pharmacies are held to the same standard as prescribers,” said Sandra J. Hairston, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. “Pharmacies cannot simply put their head in the sand when filling prescriptions and work under the assumption that the prescriber complied with their legal obligations.”
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.CampusDrugPrevention.gov, and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv