Ready Pharmacy to pay $400,000 for controlled substance violations

A retail pharmacy that operated in Chaparral reportedly agreed to pay $400,000 to settle multiple violations of federal controlled substance law.

Officers from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration conducted an inspection at the pharmacy, which was on West Lisa Drive, in March 2016. Officers checked stocks of controlled substances, including oxycodone, amphetamine and other painkillers and sedatives, finding that more than 26,000 doses had gone unaccounted for.

According to a 2019 federal civil complaint, the pharmacy did not have prescriptions for some of the controlled substances on site. Additionally, agents said pharmacist Mahmood Hurab wrote 114 prescriptions for controlled substances after his New Mexico pharmacist/clinician license expired in January 2015.

USA today:A doctor wrote more than 20,000 prescriptions for opioids, prosecutors say. Five people died.

Oxycodone 30mg pills are shown in an undated file photo.

The lawsuit was filed by the US Department of Justice on behalf of the DEA’s El Paso Division Regulatory Diversion Panel.

Officers further alleged that the pharmacy issued prescriptions to Hurab with altered dates and higher dosages than what was written and issued refills that were prohibited.

The complaint named the pharmacy, Hurab and pharmacy technician Sylvia Tellez as defendants.

The settlement, announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Fred J. Federici, follows a judgment stipulated against the defendants for $450,000 in December.

“By reaching this agreement, we emphasize the need to comply with the Controlled Substances Act,” Federici said in a press release. “It is our duty to ensure that the terms and responsibilities upon which this authority rests are respected and that its limits are not abused by DEA-registered retail pharmacies.”

The pharmacy, incorporated in New Mexico in 1999, is no longer in operation, according to the US attorney’s office. Neither Hurab nor Tellez are currently licensed in New Mexico.

Ready Pharmacy has five years to pay the settlement, with an initial amount of $50,000 due within one month of settlement.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the state had the 12th highest rate of drug-related deaths in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. At 21.6 deaths per 100,000 people, New Mexico’s rate was 41% higher than the national rate.

Two-thirds of them involved opioids, including prescription opioids such as oxycodone.

Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, [email protected] or @AlgernonWrites on Twitter.

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