WASHINGTON — According to various published reports, The Justice Department on Monday filed a lawsuit against Rite Aid for allegedly violating the Controlled Substances Act, alleging that the company “knowingly filled unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances.”
In a complaint filed in Cleveland federal court, the Department of Justice said Rite Aid repeatedly filled prescriptions from May 2014 to June 2019 that were medically unnecessary, for off-label use, or not issued in the usual course of professional practice.
“The Justice Department is using every tool at our disposal to confront the opioid epidemic that is killing Americans and shattering communities across the country,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
Rite Aid pharmacists were accused of ignoring obvious signs of misuse, including in prescriptions for “trinities,” a combination of opioids, benzodiazepine, and muscle relaxants preferred by drug abusers for their increased euphoric effect.
The Justice Department also said Rite Aid intentionally deleted some pharmacists’ internal warnings about suspicious prescribers, such as “cash only pill mill???”, while admonishing them to “be mindful of everything that is put in writing.”
“These practices opened the floodgates for millions of opioid pills and other controlled substances to flow illegally out of Rite Aid’s stores,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said.
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