DOJ and Lincoln Pharmacy in Tacoma Settle Allegations the Pharmacy Failed to Follow the Controlled Substances Act
Settlement is One of Three Related to DEA Civil Investigations
SEATTLE – The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Lincoln Pharmacy in Tacoma have reached a settlement agreement over inspection findings by the Drug Enforcement Administration that Lincoln had failed to comply with some of the administrative requirements of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Lincoln Pharmacy will pay the United States $80,000 to resolve the claims. The settlement is one in a series of enforcement actions the DEA has taken with providers and pharmacies over administrative violations of the CSA.
“The DEA will hold those medical practitioners accountable who fail to comply with the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) in order to deter pharmaceuticals from being abused,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.
“The Controlled Substances Act has requirements for medical professionals and pharmacies so that certain narcotic substances are carefully tracked,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Those requirements are designed to allow DEA to monitor the distribution of these drugs to try to combat abuse and addiction and the harms that follow.”
The settlement with Lincoln Pharmacy states that during an inspection in June 2021, DEA found that in a variety of ways, Lincoln Pharmacy failed to appropriately track controlled substances coming to the pharmacy. For example: Lincoln Pharmacy failed to maintain records on substances such as oxycodone and hydrocodone between March 2020 and June 2021; Lincoln Pharmacy’s inventories of scheduled drugs were inadequate; the pharmacy failed to keep records of when and how much of certain scheduled drugs were delivered to the pharmacy; the pharmacy failed to secure some of the controlled substances; and the pharmacy failed to keep the ‘private key’ secure - something used to sign DEA orders.
Lincoln is paying the $80,000 settlement but does not admit any liability.
This is the third entity to settle administrative claims with the U.S. Attorney’s Office over administrative failure to follow the Controlled Substances Act.
In September 2021, JRK Pharma Inc d/b/a Edmonds Pharmacy settled allegations that between October 2019 and May 2021, it filled 347 prescriptions for controlled substances written by two practitioners who either did not have valid state licensed to practice medicine or did not have an active DEA license to prescribe controlled substances. Edmonds Pharmacy paid $20,000 to resolve the allegations and does not admit liability.
In August 2022, Dr. Akiko Kato, a naturopathic physician, signed a settlement stating that she prescribed controlled substances that were outside her naturopathic license and limitations under the CSA. Between October 2016 and October 2021, she wrote 644 prescriptions for substances such as Dextroamphetamine, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Ketamine, and Phentermine. Dr. Kato was not authorized to prescribe such prescriptions. Dr. Kato paid a $37,500 settlement.
These cases were a result of a concerted focus of DEA to prevent pharmacies from filling prescriptions written by providers without prescribing authority for those substances.
The DEA investigated these matters and the cases were resolved by Assistant United States Attorneys Matt Waldrop and Ashley Burns.