CVS pays $3.5 million to Uncle Sam for filling forged painkiller scripts

CVS will pay $3.5 million  to the federal government to settle allegation  that pharmacists in Massachusetts and New Hampshire filled hundreds of forged prescriptions for painkillers.Uncle Sam saidCVS for failed  to recognize signs that prescriptions were fake and notify the authorities. As part of the settlement, CVS Health Corp. promised to improve training of employees to recognize signs of forged prescriptions. The company, headquartered in Woonsocket, R.I., said it settled to avoid the cost and inconvenience of further legal proceedings. Investigators alleged that pharmacists in 50 CVS stores violated the Controlled Substances Act by filling forged prescriptions more than 500 times — mostly for addictive painkillers.

The DEA estimated the total value of the pills involved at more than $1 million.

One DEA investigation examined CVS stores across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, while the other focused on Boston-area stores. The investigation resulted from  physicians’ reports of stolen prescription pads, Ortiz said. The forged prescriptions, written between 2011 and 2014, came from five people , including a woman identified only as “P.R.” She signed a dentist’s name on 56 of 59 oxycodone prescriptions that were filled at five CVS locations.

Those prescriptions were filled even though CVS had banned P.R. in 2011. She was able to circumvent the ban by creating a new patient profile, using a different last name.Another wrote prescriptions from an emergency room physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. That customer filled fake prescriptions for hydrocodone and methadone more than 200 times, according to federal authorities.

 

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers