A federal court has ordered a North Carolina pharmacy, along with owner John D. Waggett and pharmacist-in-charge Billy W. King II, to pay a $1.05 million fine and stop dispensing opioids or other controlled substances, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The consent order resolves a federal complaint filed alleging that Seashore Drugs, Waggett and King repeatedly filled prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, according to the news release.
The United States alleged that the defendants ignored well-known “red flags” of drug diversion and drug-seeking behavior when filling prescriptions for controlled substances. These prescriptions often involved highly addictive and abused painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone, along with other drugs that heighten the euphoric effects of opioids.
The complaint alleged that many prescriptions raised several red flags, but the defendants failed to take steps to resolve those problems and ensure the prescriptions were legitimate before filling them.
This conduct led Seashore to develop a reputation in the local pharmacy community as a place that filled prescriptions other pharmacies refused, according to the complaint. Also, King allegedly filled prescriptions for customers that his own pharmacists, who were no longer on shift, had previously refused to fill.
Seashore staffers reported to King that people were exchanging drugs on the bench outside the pharmacy, but King took no action. Several customers who filled opioid prescriptions at Seashore died from prescription-drug overdoses within days after Seashore dispensed their pills.
The defendants have not admitted the allegations in the complaint, but the parties agreed to resolve the case without further litigation, according to the news release.