DOJ: Scranton pharmacy fined after failing to keep accurate records

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Scranton pharmacy, The Prescription Center, has agreed to pay a fine of $57,073 for allegedly violating the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

The pharmacy failed to comply with recordkeeping requirements, the United States Attorney’s Office stated in a release.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney, Bruce D. Brandler, the requirements are a part of The Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The act, enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Diversion Control Divison, became effective in 1971 to combat the illegal distribution and abuse of controlled substances, including prescription medications.

The Department of Justice release reads the recordkeeping and prescription requirements set by the CSA are specifically designed to prevent the illegal disbursement of controlled substances. The regulations require each pharmacy to maintain complete and accurate records of each substance manufactured, received, sold, delivered, dispensed, or otherwise disposed of by the pharmacy.

Attorney Brandler says, between March 2020 and March 2021, The Prescription Center failed to keep accurate inventories and records concerning the distribution of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, including but not limited to, hydrocodone, buprenorphine-naloxone, and alprazolam. Because of this, thousands of doses of controlled substances were unaccounted for.

The investigation was initiated by a scheduled DEA audit in March 2021. The Prescription Center cooperated with investigators and has now updated its recordkeeping and internal compliance program, the release reads.

While no known distribution took place, pharmacies have a vital responsibility to protect controlled substances from being stolen and abused, Attorney Brandler said.

“Our nation remains in the midst of an opioid crisis, and the importance of keeping complete and accurate records of incoming and outgoing controlled substances at the pharmacy level cannot be overstated,” said Brandler. “I commend the owners of The Presciption Center for taking responsibility seriously and being proactive in this investigation to strengthen their systems and processes to protect their legitimate dispensing from diversion.”

According to the release, a settlement agreement was reached and is not a liability admission by the pharmacy, nor is it an admission by the United States that its claims are not well-founded.

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