The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas have been working in unison to identify pharmacies violating federal drug laws and hold them accountable for their illegal acts. On February 7, 2012, the work of these two units paid off when Lam’s Pharmacy of Las Vegas agreed to pay a $1 million settlement fine for violations of federal drug laws.
The DEA began investigating Lam’s Pharmacy in 2006, starting with the company’s receipt and distribution of controlled substances. After years of investigation, the DEA took the evidence it had collected to Nevada’s U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, alleging that Lam’s had violated the Controlled Substances Act.
Lam’s violation of the Controlled Substances Act was a civil violation, rather than a criminal violation. Still, Bogden stresses that “Civil settlements such as this are an extremely important component in our strategy to combat unlawful prescription drug trafficking in Nevada.”
The $1 million settlement is the largest civil settlement under the Controlled Substances Act against a pharmacy that is not a chain-operated pharmacy. Bogden promises to continue to enforce violations of federal drug laws by physicians, pharmacies, and pharmacists both civilly and criminally. The DEA has made clear to pharmacies that they have a corresponding duty not to participate in distributing controlled substances when no valid medical purpose exists.
Although Lam’s did not admit to any wrongdoing or liability, the company has agreed to surrender its DEA registration and pay the settlement within 14 business days. Additionally, Lam’s will be sold, but the business will continue to operate in Las Vegas under new management and a new name.
I would like to congratulate the Justice Department on successfully holding Lam’s Pharmacy accountable for its violations of federal drug laws. I hope that both the DEA and Justice Department will continue to search out pharmacies that are contributing to the pill mill problem in this nation.
To learn more about prescription drug addition, read my article “America’s Growing Addiction” at www.vanweylaw.com.