Pharmacist to Serve 24 Years in Prison for Illegal Oxycodone Dispensing

JUNE 28, 2016
Meghan Ross, Senior Associate Editor

A pharmacist will serve 24 years in prison for a variety of charges that include dispensing oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose.

Orlando, Florida, resident Valentine Okonkwo was given his prison sentence at a hearing on June 22, 2016. Back in March 2016, a federal jury found the 54-year-old pharmacist guilty of 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, plus 10 counts of illegally dispensing and distributing oxycodone.

During the trial, evidence was presented that Okonkwo had dispensed more than 500,000 oxycodone pills and collected more than $1.3 million from illegal sales, according to the attorney general’s office.

Okonkwo accepted fake prescriptions from customers who came in groups and from far distances to get the oxycodone from Avalon Park Pharmacy. He also filled prescriptions from known pill mill prescribers.

“The patients paid a premium, in cash, for the pain pills because they had fraudulent prescriptions and prescriptions from pill mill doctors,” the attorney general’s office stated.

Okonkwo’s pharmacy may have looked especially suspicious because it had some of the highest levels of oxycodone dispensing in the area, even among major retail pharmacies.

The attorney general’s office stated that many of Okonkwo’s customers were drug addicts or dealers who sold the pills for $15 each on the street. The pharmacist also allegedly slept with customers in exchange for pills, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

In one case, a woman told detectives that she received cash and at least 10 oxycodone pills in exchange for sex. She also believed that the pharmacist knew she had a drug addiction.