Rite Aid paid the civil settlement Wednesday as part of an agreement reached last week to resolve allegations that certain Rite Aid pharmacies in Los Angeles dispensed and/or recorded controlled substances using a medical practitioner’s incorrect or invalid Drug Enforcement Administration registration number, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A representative of the drugstore chain declined comment except to point out that in entering into and paying the settlement, Rite Aid did not admit liability.
Prior to entering into the agreement, Rite Aid implemented a program designed to verify DEA registration numbers for medical professionals who prescribe controlled substances, prosecutors said.
The government alleged that the incorrect or invalid registration numbers were used at least 1,298 times as a result of Rite Aid’s failure to adequately maintain its internal database.
The settlement also resolves allegations that Rite Aid pharmacies dispensed, on at least 63 occasions, prescriptions for controlled substances written by a practitioner whose DEA registration number had been revoked by the DEA for cause.
In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, which created “a closed system” of distribution for controlled substances.
The act established a regulatory framework to control every facet of the handling of the substances, from their manufacture to their consumption.
“Accurate record keeping at retail pharmacies helps ensure that authorities can keep track of how many controlled substances a pharmacy should have and does have on hand,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “These federal regulations were put into place to prevent the abuse of powerful drugs that are dispensed by pharmacies and should only be used under the careful watch of a medical professional.”
The settlement “demonstrates DEA’s commitment to monitoring and holding accountable all potential sources of diversion for controlled substances and maintaining the safety of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Steve Comer.
–City News Service
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