Local Colorado Pharmacy Agrees To Pay $60,000 for Controlled Substance Violations
A pharmacy in Palisade, CO, has agreed to pay $60,000 to resolve a settlement concerning allegations that it violated the Controlled Substance Act and the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005.
Palisade Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in the Colorado town, allegedly sold prescriptions without the proper information and was charged with committing 480 violations of both laws, according to reports from Pharmacy Times and NBC 11 News.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado filed a civil lawsuit against the pharmacy for its violations, which included shipping controlled substances to unregistered locations, failing to verify addresses with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), filing controlled substance prescriptions which did not have all of the required information on the front label, and failing to maintain records of its controlled substance prescriptions on its pharmacy software.
There are currently no reports that suggest any harm came to customers who purchased the controlled substances from Palisade Pharmacy, and the small-town store has never faced a charge from the DEA during its 40+ years of operating. Nevertheless, government officials decided to pursue a hefty fine to send a message to other pharmacies: complying by the regulations — all regulations — is something that every pharmacy must prioritize.
U.S. Attorney John Walsh stated that the government’s regulations are intended “to protect the public” and that violations of these regulations “can put public health at risk.”
Palisade Pharmacy agreed to pay the $60,000 but according to News 11 it has not actually admitted liability. Instead, the pharmacy decided to take the settlement — which also includes mandatory reporting and training requirements — in order to avoid any lengthy or expensive litigation.
“This is a critical issue for pharmacies today,” says Mike Gross, VP Sales and Marketing, Retail Management Solutions. “Whether by mistake or not, pharmacies have to track and maintain these records to meet government requirements and to ensure public safety. With our pharmacy POS solutions, we make it very easy for a pharmacy to scan the patient’s driver’s license at the time of purchase, as well as collect signatures for the controlled substance sale. This ensures proper documentation in case of audit. Having these checks in place ensures a pharmacy’s compliance with U.S. regulations.”
Local customers, meanwhile, have stated that the customer service has always been great at Palisade Pharmacy, but it seems that the community is still unhappy.
“I think they need to change their guidelines a lot and be a lot more careful,” said Lydia DeLuca, a customer of 16 years.