Walgreens Slapped With Record $80M Oxy Fine
One small-town pharmacy was ordering 2.2M pills a year
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2013 11:49 AM CDT
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(Newser) – Walgreens made history yesterday ... by being ordered to pay the largest fine in the history of the US Controlled Substances Act. The drugstore empire was slugged for $80 million for "an unprecedented number" of violations in its sale of oxycodone and other controlled substances, following a probe by the DEA, USA Today reports. The agency says Walgreens allowed the highly addictive painkillers to reach the black market by systematically failing to report unusually large or frequent orders from its pharmacies, and dispensing to customers even when their prescription was flagged as problematic.

"Walgreens pharmacists blatantly ignored red flags," says a DEA special agent. Six of Walgreens' Florida pharmacies were ordering more than a million oxycodone pills a year, the DEA found. One pharmacy in a town of 34,000 people ordered 2.2 million pills in 2011; the average US pharmacy orders 73,000 a year. Those pharmacies have had their controlled substance licenses suspended until May 2014 and the company has been barred from distributing controlled drugs from its Florida warehouse—the largest supplier of oxycodone to pharmacies in the state—until September 2014.

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Jun 13, 2013 1:22 PM CDT
My God God.. you know how many people likely died as a result of that amount of 'hillbilly heroin' out on the street? The lives they helped to destroy, and the criminals they helped to empower.. and NO ONE GOES TO JAIL. As long as the DEA get's their cut, it's fine.. just fine.. that is the way the US does it's drug business.. If this had been your kid selling 10 oxy in the back alley (that he inevitably scored from Walgreens), depending on the state, he could be in jail for 5 to LIFE.
Jun 13, 2013 11:34 AM CDT
This would not be a problem if we all got over the fetish for the government having its nose in everybody's business. What a waste. But it all does a great job of keeping us from caring about government bloat, waste, corruption, injustice and rights violations. CVS & Rite aide must have had a godfather.
Jun 13, 2013 1:19 AM CDT
Florida is notorious for breaking any drugs laws. Someone I knew told me that Pain Clinics are popping on every corner in Miami, than doctors prescribe OxyMorphin, the powerful drug that is causing many death from heart failure. So careful out there, whether you using it legally or illegally for pain.