Alabama pharmacy fined $100K for losing track of thousands of narcotics doses

Published 2:28 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

A now defunct Alabama pharmacy has been fined $110,000 for failing to keep records over its controlled substances, causing thousands of doses of narcotics to go unaccounted, federal prosecutors said.

Last week, Acting United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross announced that King Drug Co., Inc. (King Drug), a pharmacy previously doing business in Samson, Alabama, along with owner Traci Revels McCoy, is liable to the United States for $110,000 in civil monetary penalties after failing to comply with recordkeeping requirements of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

The CSA aims to protect the public’s health and safety from highly addictive or dangerous controlled substances that are diverted into the illicit market, while also ensuring that patients have access to pharmaceutical controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes. To prevent diversion, the CSA regulates individuals and companies that manufacture, distribute, and dispense controlled substances. Entities dispensing controlled substances are required to have a valid Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number and must comply with various recordkeeping requirements.

According to the consent judgment and other court documents, King Drug was a registered retail pharmacy authorized to purchase and dispense Schedules II-V controlled substances. An inspection found that, between January 16, 2021, and December 14, 2021, King Drug and Traci McCoy failed to keep complete, timely, and accurate inventories and records of the receipt and dispensing of Schedule II controlled substances. These failures resulted in thousands of doses of hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone going unaccounted for. Based on those findings, the United States filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama alleging numerous violations under the provisions of the CSA. King Drug has since ceased operation as a retail pharmacy. The court issued the consent judgment on February 2, 2024.

“Pharmacies serve a vital role in preventing the diversion and the resulting abuse of dangerous prescription drugs,” said Acting United States Attorney Ross. “The requirement to keep complete and accurate records is crucial for accountability and transparency. My office will use all available enforcement tools to ensure that controlled substances are properly handled and used for legitimate, medical purposes.”

“Prescription medications, when misused, can pose a grave threat to public health,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Hofer of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “That’s why meticulous recordkeeping by pharmacies is an essential line of defense against the opioid crisis. Every dose, every pill meticulously accounted for protects communities and saves lives.”

The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad, Diversion Control Division investigated this case. The matter was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen D. Wadsworth and Investigative Analyst Rita E. Richard of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.