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CVS does not agree with the verdict and may appeal.

Court turns tables on Rite Aid, CVS in controlled substance case

Pharmacies were refilling prescriptions without doctor’s knowledge

If you are a doctor you want to know if and how your name is getting around. In the case of Dr. James Chaney, the how was being used unlawfully by Rite Aid and CVS.

A jury in a Perry County, Ky., civil case has put the blame on the two pharmacy chains for failing to exercise ordinary care in attributing controlled substance prescriptions to Dr. James Chaney. In other words, Rite Aid and CVS stores will filling orders of controlled substances in Chaney’s name without his knowledge. Chaney was sentenced to 2 ½ years back in 2015 after he was found guilty on one count of money laundering. However, the doctor was facing multiple charges, including a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge to avoid a 60-year prison sentence.

The civil suit was an attempt to clear Chaney’s name. Refills on controlled substances were made in the Rite Aid and CVS stores by adding a 0 to the prescription number. The court, however, did find Chaney at fault when it came to monitoring the reporting of controlled substance prescriptions attributed to him.

CVS disagrees with the verdict and may appeal.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) also is suing Rite Aid, accusing it of filling hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for illegal drugs including opioids between May 2014 and June 2019. The DOJ believes Rite Aid ignored any guidance that has been given to pharmacists about illegal drug distribution. Rite Aid is being accused of filling prescriptions for “trinities,” which is a combination of opioids, benzodiazepine and muscle relaxants — a favorite of drug abusers. The government further alleges that Rite Aid not only ignored substantial evidence from multiple sources that its stores were dispensing unlawful prescriptions, including from certain pharmacists, its distributor, and its own internal data, but compounded its failure to act by intentionally deleting internal notes about suspicious prescribers written by Rite Aid pharmacists and directing district managers to tell pharmacists "to be mindful of everything that is put in writing."  

Rite Aid also is being accused of violating the False Claims Act by submitting false subscription claims to Medicare, Medicaid and other government healthcare programs.

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