Pharmacy agrees to pay civil penalty

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NAUGATUCK — A Naugatuck pharmacy has agreed to pay a civil penalty to settle allegations that they violated provisions of the Controlled Substances Act.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control in Rocky Hill alleged that Nelson’s Pharmacy, 153 Maple St., failed to make sure that the prescriptions it filled contained an authorized practitioner’s DEA number and failed to account for accurate inventories of Oxycodone 10 mg. tablets, Oxycodone 15 mg. tablets, Oxycodone 30 mg. tablets and Endocet 10/325 tablets, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly.

Both of these were violations of the Controlled Substances Act, which tracks drugs from the manufacturers to the intended recipient to ensure that they are not being abused or falling into the wrong hands.

Nelson’s Pharmacy agreed to pay $40,000 a pre-suit settlement, according to the release.

According to an administrative inspection warrant that was executed on Aug. 7, the pharmacy drew attention to itself by increasing its Oxycodone orders by an average of 252 percent since 2006.

The increase raised concerns with not only the DEA but with Cardinal Health, a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs, which reported its concerns to the DEA regarding Nelson’s Pharmacy purchase of Oxycodone products, the warrant states. In February, Cardinal Health opted to terminate the business relationship with Nelson’s Pharmacy for the supply of controlled substances, according to the warrant.

In March, DEA investigators and a state drug control agent conducted an accountability audit on the pharmacy. The audit turned up shortages in both Oxycodone and Endocet tablets, according to the warrant.

Giriaco Russo, the pharmacist owner of Nelson’s Pharmacy, was notified of the losses in July. In August, Russo notified the DEA that he discovered a shortage in the Oxycodone products that he sells, according to the warrant.

According to the release, Howe’s Pharmacy, at 78 Broad St. in Milford, also agreed to pay $50,000 in a separate settlement.

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