Problem-Ridden Pharmacy Shut Down by State Pharmacy Board

April 21, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

The Virginia State Board of Pharmacy shut down the prescription operations of a pharmacy in Richmond after deeming it deficient in several areas upon inspection.

The Virginia State Board of Pharmacy shut down the prescription operations of a pharmacy in Richmond after deeming it deficient in several areas upon inspection.

In addition to suspending Westbury Pharmacy’s permit on April 17, 2015, the pharmacy board suspended the license of pharmacist-in-charge Faiz A. Oley Jr., according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

A statement from the board noted unannounced inspections in May 2014 and February 2015, plus a drug audit in May 2014, raised concerns about the pharmacy’s ability to “assure the quality, sterility, integrity, safety, and efficacy of drugs dispensed, along with its ability to safeguard against the diversion of drugs.”

Westbury Pharmacy was found to have some storage and security issues, which may have led to more than 50,000 tablets of controlled substances going missing. The board alleged 49,667 tablets of oxycodone in varying doses, 561 tablets of methadone, 60 mg of fentanyl citrate powder, and 261 tablets of hydrocodone went missing due to theft by a pharmacy employee between May 2012 and July 2014.

Former pharmacy employee Chauncey Andrey Carter Sr., who pleaded guilty to stealing some of the pharmacy’s medications and is now serving time, admitted to stealing “a small amount of pills,” but he is now being used as scapegoat to explain all of the missing pills, CBS-6 reported. The news source said the ex-employee was “floored” when he was told more than 10,000 pills were taken.

“I knew a lot of stuff was going on in there that shouldn’t have been going on,” Carter told CBS-6. “But that wasn’t my business.”

The board’s inspection found a storage cabinet containing Schedule II drugs could still be accessed while the cabinet was locked. In addition, a pharmacy clerk and a technician deactivated the pharmacy alarm several times, and 5 unlicensed individuals had access to the pharmacy department when a pharmacist was not around.

Inspectors also found expired and mislabeled medications, as well as medications without any labels or expiration dates. Bottles were also found with more medication in them than what was listed on the label.

Oley was also accused of knowing the computer system was not tracking the inventory correctly and adjusting the totals in the system to fix discrepancies between the theoretical and physical accounts.

The pharmacy board also found fraudulent billing activities and violations to standards related to compounding. For example, between January and February 2014, a pharmacy technician performed high-risk compounding 24 times before he passed his initial media-fill testing. In addition, records for sterile and non-sterile compounding for single-patient, single-prescription, and batch-compounded products were not initiated by a pharmacist.

Among many other violations, the board alleged the pharmacy kept refrigerated or frozen medications in an area accessible to the public.

Customers of Westbury Pharmacy were encouraged by the board to seek a health care provider if they have concerns about their medications.

Meanwhile, Westbury Pharmacy released a statement on its website with information on where prescription files were being transferred.

“We are surprised and dismayed that the board has temporarily shut down our prescription department,” a statement read on Westbury Pharmacy’s website. “Safeguarding the health of our patients and serving this community have always been our highest priorities. …We will be doing everything we can to work with the board of pharmacy to re-open our prescription department as soon as possible.”

A formal administrative hearing with the pharmacy board is scheduled for May 29, 2015.