Federal Agencies Stepping Up Enforcement Against Pharmacies in the Opioid Crisis

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently filed a lawsuit against a national pharmacy chain for allegedly illegally dispensing thousands of opioids. The suit comes after an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) found Ridley’s Family Markets Pharmacy in Utah forged 160 prescriptions for its customers. A Ridley’s Pharmacy in Wyoming was also found to have written 200 fraudulent prescriptions for opioids.

The suit alleges that the pharmacies ignored several red flags of illegitimate prescriptions and failed to act as the “last line of defense between powerful controlled substances with high potential for abuse and the people seeking them.” The DOJ has made it a priority to hold pharmacies, doctors, and other health care workers accountable for their role in the nation’s opioid crisis.

The allegations in this suit show how important it is to identify and punish “pill mills.” “Pill mill” is used to describe any doctor, clinic, or pharmacy that prescribes or dispenses powerful drugs without a legitimate medical reason. Pill mills fuel the drug trade and are largely responsible for the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the country.

According to Baron & Budd attorney Will Powers: “Pharmacies, including major chains, often are more concerned with profits than patients. Many pharmacies pressure pharmacists—or place overwhelming demands on them—that cause the pharmacists to ignore proper dispensing procedures and dish out opioids without fully evaluating the legitimacy of the prescriptions.”

Statistics from the CDC show that 46 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids. At least some of these deaths may be prevented by reporting pharmacies with reckless dispensing practices. You can be compensated for becoming a whistleblower and exposing those companies or individuals who are committing fraud. Whistleblowers are protected from retaliation from their employers by the federal False Claims Act (FCA) and its state counterparts. Under these laws, whistleblowers cannot be fired, demoted, or denied regular benefits in response or retaliation to reporting fraud. Whistleblowers should contact an attorney to ensure protection in these cases.

Our Team

With more than 30 years of experience, the attorneys on Baron & Budd’s whistleblower representation team have represented dozens of clients in government fraud cases returning over $5.4 billion to federal and state agencies, with whistleblower recovery shares as high as 49%. They are ready to help if you have evidence of healthcare fraud.

Please call (866) 401-5971 or complete our contact form if you would like more information. For more information, see What You Need to Know About Becoming a Whistleblower. Please understand that contacting us does not mean that you have established an attorney-client relationship with Baron & Budd, P.C.

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