LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Multiple treatment programs and two pharmacies in eastern Kentucky have agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle allegations of failing to maintain accurate drug-keeping records, the region's top prosecutor said Friday.
The settlements include what's believed to be the largest federal penalty ever obtained in a civil case involving methadone treatment programs in Kentucky's Appalachian region, according to U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey's office.
The case stemmed from Drug Enforcement Administration audits of records at the facilities, Harvey's office said in a news release. DEA agents found the facilities improperly documented the types of drugs, dosage strength, drug names or amounts of drugs dispensed, it said.
"These vital safeguards are compromised and our communities are put at greater risk when medical professionals entrusted to prescribe or dispense these drugs do not meet their obligations under the Controlled Substances Act," Harvey said.
The investigations began after DEA officials had monitored drug sales data reported by distributors and wholesalers.
The Perry County Treatment Center LLC, Pike County Treatment Center LCC and Paintsville Professional Associates LLC and one of its doctors agreed to pay a total of $525,000 to settle claims of violating the Controlled Substances Act, Harvey's office said. It's believed to be the largest penalty ever obtained by the region's federal prosecutors in a case involving methadone treatment programs, it said.
Meanwhile, MedZone Pharmacy and Neighborhood Pharmacy, both in Prestonsburg, each agreed to pay $250,000 for similar violations, it said.
As part of the settlement, the treatment programs and pharmacies surrendered their DEA registration numbers. As a result, the facilities lost their authority to dispense prescription drugs, said Kyle Edelen, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.