The DOJ just announced that John A. Beckman, owner and pharmacist-in-charge at Beckman’s Greene Street Pharmacy (BGSP), and BGSP agreed to be bound by a consent decree and pay a $120,000 civil penalty to resolve a complaint for allegedly violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

According to the complaint, Beckman and BGSP ignored “red flags” of drug abuse by filling large and high-risk doses of controlled substances. Beckman and his pharmacy filled prescriptions for the “holy trinity”, which combines an opioid, a benzodiazepine, and carisoprodol. Defendants also filled prescriptions for buprenorphine in a form that did not contain the abuse-deterrent component and allowed patients to pay in cash despite valid insurance. The complaint further alleged that Beckman and BGSP dispensed controlled substances to patients who traveled long distances and at least 10 patients died within 10 days of having controlled substances filled at BGSP. 

In addition to paying $120,000, the consent decree enjoined Beckman and his pharmacy from dispensing controlled substances without documenting all “red flags” and steps taken to ensure prescriptions are being filled for legitimate medical purposes. Beckman and his pharmacy are also prohibited from filling prescriptions that are “more than 90 daily [morphine milligram equivalents]; a combination of an opioid, a benzodiazepine, and carisoprodol; most prescriptions for buprenorphine without naloxone; any controlled substance paid for with cash even though the patient has insurance available to pay for the patient’s prescriptions; and any prescription for a controlled substance if the patient is an employee of Beckman’s Pharmacy.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration can immediately order Beckman and his pharmacy to cease ordering and dispensing controlled substances if it is found that any provision of the consent decree is violated. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division commented that “[t]he department will work with its law enforcement partners to hold responsible those who dispense potentially dangerous prescription drugs in violation of the law.”

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