Montana Pharmacy Settles Controlled Substances Act Violations for $125,000

(STL.News) – A pharmacy in Ennis, Montana settled potential violations of the Controlled Substances Act by agreeing to several substantive changes to its practices and paying a fine of $125,000, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

The Ennis Pharmacy and Yesterday’s Soda Fountain, Inc., entered into a civil settlement agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana on July 7, 2020.  The terms of the settlement include that Ennis Pharmacy shall check the criminal history of any potential employee handling controlled substances, and only a registered pharmacist may order Schedule II controlled substances for the pharmacy.  In addition, Ennis Pharmacy will make 11 monthly payments for a total fine of $125,000.

“Opioid abuse causes tremendous harm in our communities.  It is critical that all pharmacies and other providers follow the rules to be sure that controlled substances are not misused,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.  “We take very seriously any violations of the Controlled Substances Act, particularly those which could lead to diversion of opioids.”

The settlement agreement recites that in April, 2019, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators conducted a routine inspection of Ennis Pharmacy.  During that inspection and subsequent investigation, they discovered numerous potential civil violations of the Controlled Substances Act, including:

  1. Failing to report at least seven thefts or losses of controlled substances to DEA,
  2. Failing to take a proper inventory of its stock of controlled substances,
  3. Allowing pharmacy staff to use the owner’s credentials to order controlled substances, and
  4. Allowing staff to make manual adjustments to inventory records without proper explanation.

This civil settlement agreement is not an admission of any liability by Ennis Pharmacy, nor a concession by the United States that its potential claims were not well-founded.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Kakuk and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Dishong represented the United States in this matter, which was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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