WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. is reviewing the Drug Enforcement Administration’s revocation of the controlled substance licenses of two of its stores in Sanford, Fla.
The agency has charged that the outlets improperly filled prescriptions for painkillers, particularly oxycodone, and had suspicious sales of other controlled substances.
CVS has maintained that the transactions, which occurred in 2010 and early 2011, stemmed from the stores having busy pharmacies close to Interstate 4, with one being open 24 hours.
The company is evaluating its options “and determining the best way to continue to serve our customers,” a spokesman says.
“Meanwhile, we have responded to the DEA’s concerns, including implementing enhancements to our policies and procedures for filling controlled substance prescriptions,” he says. “We continue to support our pharmacists as they exercise their professional judgment to ensure that prescriptions we fill have been issued for legitimate medical purposes.”
CVS says it remains committed to working with the DEA and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies “to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion while ensuring access to appropriate, effective pain medication for our patients who need them.”
To that end the retailer has joined with a group of public and private sector partners and will sponsor the “The Medicine Abuse Project,” a multiyear effort by The Partnership at Drugfree.org to raise awareness and curb abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines.
The project’s goal is to prevent a half-million teens across the United States from abusing medications over the next five years.
“It is startling that one in six teens has taken a prescription drug without a prescription and that the majority of teens who abuse medications get them from the homes of family and friends,” said CVS Caremark president and chief executive officer Larry Merlo. “As a pharmacy innovation company, we have a responsibility to educate people about medication abuse.
“These efforts are an important part of CVS Caremark’s purpose to help people on their path to better health,” he noted.
Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org says the efforts of CVS and other partnership members are making a difference.
“Our new research underscores that Americans drastically underestimate the negative impact that prescription drug and over-the-counter medicine abuse is having on teens today,” he says. “We are deeply grateful to CVS Caremark for enthusiastically joining this collaborative project to effectively address the intentional abuse of medicines.
“With the support of CVS Caremark and their reach into communities across the nation, we are taking action and helping turn the tide on this growing epidemic,” Pasierb says.
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