March 01, 2019

DOJ Pursuing Pharmacists in Battle against Opioids

In a civil complaint in the Middle District of Tennessee, the DOJ alleges that two Tennessee pharmacies, their owner, and three pharmacists were dispensing, and billing Medicare for, prescriptions in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and the FCA. According to the government, the defendants’ unlawful dispensing of opioids has been tied to the deaths of at least two people, and numerous others have been treated at hospitals for serious overdoses within a short time of obtaining controlled substances from the pharmacies.  Further, the complaint alleges that the pharmacies and pharmacists filled numerous prescriptions for controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and in violation of the pharmacists’ corresponding responsibility to ensure that prescriptions were written for a legitimate medical purpose, including allegations of routine dispensing of the drugs in spite of multiple “red flags” and other warning signs indicative of diversion and abuse.