Pharmacies Settle with Feds for Narcotics Mishandling

A group of San Diego, California, pharmacies and their owners have paid $750,000 to the federal government to resolve drug diversion claims.

A group of San Diego, California, pharmacies and their owners have paid $750,000 to the federal government to resolve drug diversion claims.

The US attorney’s office reported on November 17, 2015, that the pharmacies had been accused of mishandling prescription narcotics and ephedrine/pseudoephedrine products.

The settlement was with Park Medical Pharmacy Inc, which does business as Medical Center Pharmacy, and owners Joseph Grasela and John Grasela.

The owners have a dozen storefront pharmacies with names like Galloway Medical Center Pharmacy and Community Medical Center Pharmacy, the US attorney’s office reported.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alleged that the pharmacies had violated the Controlled Substances Act by diverting a “significant” amount of controlled substances, not taking adequate inventory of controlled substances, and not maintaining records of the pharmacies’ distribution of products.

The pharmacies were also accused of not having the proper authorization required to sell ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products.

Around 21,000 pills—mostly oxycodone and hydrocodone—were unaccounted for over a 2-year span, according to the US attorney’s office.

Some of the alleged drug diversion involved 2 pharmacy technicians, while in other instances, the pharmacies were delivering drugs to a house that “pill seekers used in conjunction with their sham identities.”

Medical Center Pharmacy was ordered to implement new inventory control procedures, so that the business will be accountable for all controlled substances going forward.

“It is DEA’s responsibility to guarantee that pharmacies are held accountable for their role in ensuring powerful and potentially dangerous drugs are not diverted for illegal use,” said DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman in a press release. “DEA will continue to monitor and investigate pharmacies to ensure that they are following all federal regulations so that these potent drugs don’t end up on the streets of our communities.”