The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), agreed to accept a fine from a national drug store chain due to filling fake prescriptions in Rhode Island. The fine came without an admission of liability from the company and amounted to over one half million dollars. The settlement does not disclose whether any pharmacies Arizona were involved. The pharmacy is headquartered in Rhode Island.

The fine comes from an investigation that showed the pharmacy had filled 39 separate prescriptions for Percocet. Fake or doctored prescriptions have become more common in recent years.

The investigation did not conclude that the pharmacy affirmatively knew the prescriptions were faked but rather that it ‘had reason to know” they were fraudulent. Neither the public announcement by the US Attorney for Rhode Island nor the company provided specific information as to why the pharmacy had reason to know this information.

The investigation is an indication that the DEA is looking beyond actual knowledge when determining the responsibilities of a pharmacist when judging the authenticity of a prescription. The special agent in charge made general reference to the Controlled Substance Act in his statement: ‘DEA registrants have a corresponding responsibility to dispense controlled substances in accordance with the Controlled Substance Act.”

Due to recent studies and other evidence regarding a pain killer epidemic in the US, the DEA may be taking a closer look at pharmacies in regards to ensuring the legality of prescriptions of these medications. A Pharmacist may benefit by meeting with an attorney experienced in pharmaceutical dispensation to ensure he or she is complying with applicable laws.

Source: The Hill, “CVS fined over fake perocet prescriptions,” Zack Budryk, April 16, 2019