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Costco Wholesale to pay $11.75m to settle allegations of lax pharmacy controls

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Costco Wholesale
Pharma industry   The Controlled Substances Act

Costco Wholesale will pay $11.75 million to settle allegations that its pharmacies violated the Controlled Substances Act when they improperly filled prescriptions for controlled substances.

The settlement resolves allegations that Costco pharmacies filled prescriptions that were incomplete, lacked valid Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) numbers or were for substances beyond various doctors’ scope of practice.

Additionally, the settlement resolves allegations that Costco failed to keep and maintain accurate records for controlled substances at its pharmacies and centralized fill locations.

The settlement was announced today by U.S. Attorneys Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington, Michael C. Ormsby of the Eastern District of Washington, Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan and Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California.

“Pharmacies across this country are on the leading edge of the battle against our prescription drug abuse crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Hayes.

“A company such as Costco that distributes a significant volume of controlled substances has a responsibility to ensure it complies with regulations that help prevent opioids and other dangerous drugs from being misused or otherwise added to the illegal marketplace.

“I commend the DEA investigators for uncovering the violations at issue in this case, and working with Costco to ensure that systems are put in place to prevent controlled substances from ending up in the wrong hands.”

“Last year, over 50,000 Americans died as a result of drug overdoses, many of which were related to the misuse of prescription drugs. This settlement demonstrates the accountability and responsibility that go along with handling controlled prescription drugs,” said DEA Assistant Administrator Louis Milione.

“DEA works every day to reinforce good corporate practices through outreach and education efforts and, when appropriate, with administrative and criminal action.”

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