On April 3, 2013, the Justice Department announced that CVS Pharmacy, Inc., and Oklahoma CVS Pharmacy, L.L.C., (collectively “CVS”), agreed to pay $11,000,000 to the United States to settle civil penalty claims for record-keeping violations under the Controlled Substances Act and related regulations. The announcement was made by Michele M. Leonhart of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. The Government announcement focused on the related dangers of abuse of prescription drugs and drug diversion from government-funded prescription benefits programs.
The case against CVS focused on the essential role of DEA record-keeping requirements by those who dispense controlled substances, and related civil monetary penalties for violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). CVS, a Rhode Island corporation with its corporate headquarters in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, currently operates approximately 7,400 retail pharmacies in the United States (46 in Oklahoma alone) that dispense prescription drugs, including controlled substance medications. Each CVS pharmacy store is registered with DEA and assigned a unique DEA registration number to dispense controlled substances as required by the CSA. The United States has alleged that from October 6, 2005 to October 5, 2011, CVS pharmacy retail stores in Oklahoma and elsewhere violated the CSA by, among other things:1) using invalid “dummy” DEA registration on prescription dispensing records, including those provided to state prescription drug monitoring programs; 2) Filling prescriptions for prescribers with expired or invalid DEA registration numbers; and 3) Entering and maintaining CVS dispensing records, including prescription vial labels, in which the DEA registration numbers of non-prescribing practitioners were substituted for the DEA registration numbers of the prescribing practitioners. CVS agreed to pay $11 Million to resolve these claims.
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