CVS Pays $8 Million to Settle Controlled Substances Violations

CVS will pay $8 million to the US government to settle allegations that some of its Maryland pharmacy locations violated the Controlled Substances Act.

CVS will pay $8 million to the US government to settle allegations that some of its Maryland pharmacy locations violated the Controlled Substances Act.

US Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Washington Field Division maintained that CVS pharmacies in Maryland dispensed controlled substances for prescriptions that were not issued for legitimate medical reasons.

In its settlement, CVS recognized that between 2008 and 2012, some locations in Maryland provided patients with oxycodone, fentanyl, and hydrocodone “in a manner not fully consistent with their compliance obligations under the Controlled Substances Act and related regulations.”

The US government argued that some CVS pharmacists were not ensuring that the controlled substance prescriptions were issued for legitimate reasons.

“Pharmacies that dispense controlled substances have a duty to ensure that prescriptions they fill were issued for legitimate medical purposes,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “Doctors and pharmacists are the gatekeepers of the effort to prevent the abuse and diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical purposes.”

The DEA recently put a concerted effort into cracking down on prescription drug abuse in Maryland.

“Today’s settlement sends a clear message to all pharmacies that it is essential to dispense controlled substances in compliance with DEA’s record keeping requirements,” Colder said in the press release. “DEA is dedicated to combat the prescription drug abuse problem in Maryland and throughout the country and to hold nationwide chains, like CVS, accountable.”

The Controlled Substances Act allows the US government to seek civil penalties for pharmacists who knowingly fill illegitimate prescriptions.