Lest you think that all of the furor over “pill mills” has abated, take note of recent events in Georgia: A pharmacy known as Chip’s Discount Drugs was fined $2.1 million by federal authorities for its role in over-prescribing opioids.
According to federal authorities, the Georgia pharmacy dispensed around 350,000 opioid pills and other controlled substances in just two years. All of the prescriptions were written by a single internal medicine specialist. That, along with the fact that many of the patients were traveling quite a distance to obtain their prescriptions from the pharmacy, should have sent red flags up that any competent pharmacist would notice.
The pharmacy is generally accused of knowing that the drugs couldn’t be legitimately used for the purposes intended. For example, the government showed that a three-person family received 17,500 pills in that two-year period — which is far more than any three people could have used. Plus, the pharmacy was unable to account for an additional 9,000 pills that should have been in its stock.
The pharmacist got off lucky with a civil settlement. The doctor involved, however, will serve 20 years in federal prison for his role in the scheme.
Federal investigations into illegal opioid operations are still ongoing, even though the public furor over them has started to abate. If you’re accused of being involved in a pill mill scheme — no matter how removed from the actual action you may be — take it seriously and act swiftly. It may be possible to mitigate the damage to your reputation and your life with an experienced defense attorney’s assistance.