The U.S Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA announced that on Friday it issued an Immediate Suspension Order to Walgreen (WAG: Quote) Distribution Center in Jupiter, Florida. The order bars Walgreens Jupiter from handling controlled substances including oxycodone and hydrocodone, pending a judicial proceeding.
The Walgreens Jupiter is one of twelve distribution centers owned and operated by the Walgreens Corporation in Deerfield, Illinois, which is also the parent company to more than 7800 Walgreens retail pharmacies in the United States. The Walgreens Jupiter distributes controlled substances exclusively to its own Walgreens pharmacies located on the east coast of the United State, including the state of Florida.
Since 2009, Walgreens Jupiter has been the single largest distributor of oxycodone products in Florida. At about the same time as the abuse of prescription drugs became an epidemic in Florida, Walgreens' Florida retail pharmacies, supplied by Walgreens Jupiter, commanded an increasingly large percentage of the oxycodone business, the DEA said on Friday.
Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance which is highly addictive and known to be highly abused and diverted in the state of Florida.
On April 4, 2012, the DEA Miami Field Division served an Administrative Inspection Warrant or AIW on Walgreens Jupiter and its top six retail pharmacies in Florida. These administrative actions were to determine if these Walgreens' maintained a system in place that detects and reports suspicious orders to the DEA to prevent the diversion of control substances as governed by federal laws and the Control Substance Act relating to the proper distribution of control substances.
The Suspension Order against Walgreens Jupiter alleged that this distribution center failed to maintain effective controls against the diversion of controlled substances into other than legitimate medical, scientific, and industrial channels. Furthermore, it alleges that Walgreens Jupiter failed to conduct due diligence to ensure that the controlled substances were not diverted into other than legitimate channels.
The Suspension only applies to Walgreens Jupiter Distribution Center and only suspends the distribution of controlled substances in Schedule II to Schedule V and will not affect non-controlled pharmaceutical drugs, the DEA said.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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