Pharmacy's Permit Suspended After DEA Investigation

The Florida Department of Health has issued an order of emergency suspension of the permit of Rock 3, Inc, which does business as Mim's Discount Pharmacy.

A pharmacy in Brevard County, Florida, has had its permit suspended by the state following an investigation the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

On August 5, 2016, the Florida Department of Health issued an order of emergency suspension of the permit of Rock 3, Inc, which does business as Mim’s Discount Pharmacy.

According to that order, local and federal law enforcement officers determined that the community pharmacy’s owner, John Oni, and other employees were violating controlled substance laws and the regulations governing pharmacy practice. For instance, multiple sources described obtaining questionable or fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances at Mim’s because “it was well known in the community that Mim’s Pharmacy would fill prescriptions with no questions asked,” the order read.

Then, sometime around October 2011, burglars stole more than 20,000 dosage units of prescription medications from Mim’s. After being apprehended, they informed law enforcement that Oni had propositioned them to commit the crime in order to file an insurance claim for the loss—a story consistent with the lack of evidence of forced entry.

Sources also said they were able to purchase excessive amounts of pseudoephedrine from Mim’s without having to sign any written or electronic log. Based on that information, the DEA started investigating the pharmacy.

Around November 2013, an undercover agent visited Mim’s with a purported prescription for 112 oxycodone tablets. After the agent supplied a driver’s license matching the name on the prescription upon Oni’s request, the agent paid Oni’s per-tablet price of $6.25 ($700 total) in cash, and then Oni gave the agent the oxycodone. At the time of this transaction, the price of an oxycodone tablet at a nearby pharmacy was $1.03.

Then, on 4 separate occasions between September 2014 and February 2015, undercover DEA agents obtained pseudoephedrine at Mim’s without presenting a valid ID or signing a log to complete the sale. Notably, Florida statute strictly restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine because of its common use to make methamphetamine.

In addition, between February 2015 and March 2016, DEA informants were able to obtain oxycodone, alprazolam, and ibuprofen tablets from Mim’s with fraudulent prescriptions.

In reviewing the pharmacy’s dispensing profile records, a pharmacy practice expert working with the DEA discovered that patients routinely traveled long distances to meet with prescribing physicians and traveled even further to fill their prescriptions at Mim’s. One patient traveled approximately 8 hours to obtain and fill a single prescription.

Between January 2010 and September 2014, Mim’s ordered 8 times more hydrocodone, 4 times more oxycodone, and 2.5 times more methadone than the national average. An unusually high percentage of Mim's patients paid exorbitant prices for those medications in cash, the expert found.

“It is my…opinion that Mim’s Pharmacy was a willing and active partner in a devious scheme to divert controlled substances for sale and distribution or to be used by drug-dependent individuals,” the expert concluded.

The DEA is still determining whether to file charges against Mim’s, according to WFTV9.