CVS and H-E-B Pay Civil Penalties for Alleged Violations of the Controlled Substances Act

HOUSTON September 8, 2014 - CVS Pharmacy Inc. and H-E-B have paid the Southern District of Texas respective penalties of $1,912,500 and $262,500 to resolve numerous alleged violations of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The CVS penalty was paid yesterday, while H-E-B settled their case on Aug. 6, 2014. The settlements were finalized without an admission of liability and without commencement of litigation.

“The illegal diversion of controlled substances is a threat to public health and safety,” said Magidson. “This penalty should serve as a reminder to the pharmaceutical industry of its accountability. The public should be reassured by the enforcement efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as well as the general overall compliance in the industry.”

CVS is incorporated in Delaware with its corporate office in Woonsocket, R.I. CVS Pharmacy Inc. is the retail pharmacy division of CVS Caremark Corporation and is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S.

H-E-B is incorporated in Texas with a corporate office in San Antonio and owns and operates retail pharmacies housed within its various grocery stores.

Both companies are in the business of dispensing branded and generic prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications to retail consumers. Each retail pharmacy is separately registered with the DEA and is assigned a unique DEA registration number to dispense controlled substances as required by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (Act). CVS and H-E-B are required to operate all its facilities in accordance with statutory and regulatory provisions of that Act.

The DEA Houston Division Tactical Diversion Squad conducted an investigation of eight CVS and six H-E-B pharmacies located within the Southern District of Texas. The CVS pharmacies were located in Corpus Christi, Robstown, Portland and Edinburg, while the H-E-B pharmacies were in Rio Grande City, Corpus Christi, Edinburg, Weslaco and Austin. The investigation revealed those pharmacies had violated the Act from April 1, 2012, through Aug. 9, 2012, by filling controlled substance prescriptions on numerous occasions for a physician who, at the time, did not possess a valid Texas Department of Public Safety controlled substances registration number.

Specifically, H-E-B filled such prescriptions on 21 occasions, while the CVS pharmacies did so on 153 occasions during that time.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Venezia handled the case.

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