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CVS Caremark Reaches $11 Mln Settlement With US DoJ For Drug Law Violations

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that drug store chain CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) has agreed to pay a fine of $11 million to settle civil penalty claims involving violations of Controlled Substances Act. This is one of the largest settlements ever paid for record-keeping violations by a retail pharmacy chain related to controlled pharmaceuticals.

The settlement was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma Sanford Coats. CVS acknowledged that its stores must comply with the record-keeping requirements, but did not admit liability.

"The abuse of prescription drugs is a well-documented epidemic inflicting devastating, long-term, effects on individuals, families, and entire communities. To combat this problem, it is essential that those who dispense controlled substances comply with DEA's record-keeping requirements," Coats said in a statement.

The settlement resolves allegations that the company's Oklahoma pharmacies violated the Controlled Substances Act by failing to keep proper records of pharmacy drug sales.

The Act calls for pharmacies to document each transaction that involves controlled substances or powerful prescription drugs, along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA, registration numbers of the doctors prescribing those drugs.

Each DEA registrant, including pharmacies, is required to maintain complete and accurate records of each substance manufactured, received, sold, delivered, dispensed or otherwise disposed of by the registrant for two years.

The process ensures that dispensers of prescription drugs remain accountable and these drugs are not illegally diverted to addicts and street dealers. The DoJ noted that abuse of prescription drugs is one of the most critical issues it faces currently.

The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company was charged of using dummy registration numbers for prescriptions, and filling prescriptions written by doctors whose DEA registrations were no longer valid. These violations occurred between October 2005 to October 2011 at two CVS pharmacies in Oklahoma.

The Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division, Daniel Salter, said, "This settlement reinforces the responsibilities of all pharmacies to prevent the diversion of dangerous drugs. This case highlights DEA's steadfast resolve to combat the growing prescription drug abuse problem in this country by ensuring that all DEA registrants, including nationwide pharmacy chains, are in compliance with the law. This is vital to protect public health and keep our communities safe."

CVS closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $54.13, down $1.11 or 2.01% on a volume of 6.75 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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