Can You Pronounce CVS? “W-A-L-G-R-E-E-N-S”

Jp Enlarged

Jay Pee is an optimist.  This breaks my heart a little.  I had such confidence that WAG does it right. Oh Well.

Walgreen to Pay $80 Million Fine in D.E.A. Inquiry

Published: June 11, 2013 The New York Times

The Walgreen Company, the nation’s biggest pharmacy operator, agreed on Tuesday to pay $80 million to resolve federal charges that it failed to properly control the sales of narcotic painkillers at some of its outlets.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Agents said Walgreen failed to properly control the sale of painkillers at some of its drugsto

Officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration described the fine as the biggest ever paid by a pharmacy chain. As part of the settlement, the license of a Florida facility used by Walgreen to distribute controlled drugs was revoked for two years.

D.E.A. officials said that many of the drugs dispensed at the facility made their way to the black market, including oxycodone, a strong narcotic that is also the active ingredient in OxyContin.

Under the agreement, Walgreen committed to establish better internal controls. It acknowledged that practices at a distribution facility and some of its pharmacies in Florida did not meet standards.

Over the last year, federal officials have acted against several major wholesalers of prescription painkillers, like Cardinal Health, as well as drugstores. Such drugs are involved in some 16,000 overdose deaths annually.

Federal officials have said that distributors of painkillers often turn a blind eye to suspiciously large orders for medications by pharmacies, and that drugstores fail to properly identify customers who intend to divert drugs to the streets.

Some distributors have sought to limit their liability by more closely monitoring distribution pipelines and cutting off customers. But patients say the crackdown has made it difficult for them to get needed medication, and some druggists complain that big distributors like Cardinal have clamped down on the amount of painkillers they can buy.

The black market has been rampant in Florida, where until recently hundreds of so-called pain clinics operated, including many where patients received prescriptions for opioids after cursory examinations. Since 2009, federal officials have brought charges against 59 doctors in connection with the illegal prescribing of painkillers.

In their action against Walgreen, federal officials said the chain had failed to properly account for the sales of painkillers or report suspicious sales. The Walgreen distribution facility in Florida once served as the largest supplier of prescription painkillers to pharmacies in that state, they said.

“National pharmaceutical chains are not exempt from following the law,” Mark R. Trouville, a D.E.A. special agent in charge, said in a prepared statement.

In a statement released Tuesday, Walgreen, based in Deerfield, Ill., said, “As the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S., we are fully committed to do our part to reduce prescription drug abuse.”

The company said that it expected that the financial impact of the settlement and associated costs would lower results in the third quarter by about 4 to 6 cents a share. In fiscal 2012, Walgreen had sales of $72 billion.

Another major distributor, AmerisourceBergen, disclosed last June that it faced a federal criminal inquiry into its oversight of painkiller sales. West Virginia officials filed a lawsuit against 14 drug distributors, including Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen. The companies have denied wrongdoing.



  1. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jun 12, 2013 @10:31 am

    That is why we have to call MD on C11 to verify that purpose is legitimate.

  2. Peon  •  Jun 12, 2013 @4:41 pm

    We have the DEA story. I don’t trust the DEA at all. They have targeted US pharmacies. Guess they have more money or something. Instead of trying to catch the drug smugglers, they now go after pharmacists. After all the pharmacists are easy prey for the DEA. When it comes to trust, I will trust Walgreens before I trust the DEA. And, don’t believe everything you read. There may be more to the story than we know. After all, we only have the DEA version.

  3. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jun 12, 2013 @8:50 pm

    @Peon… drugs stores/Pharmacists.. don’t carry AK-47 and shoot at DEA agents.. like the drug cartel !

    There was a recent documentary on Nat Geo.. that stated that the cartels have moved from “fast boats”.. to .. semi-submersible …to.. submarines… and the DEA has came up “DRY” for nearly two years… They have to demonstrate to Congress – who is giving them billions and billions a year.. that they are doing something .. to keep drugs off the street…

    This type of statement from the DEA.. just fries by balls…

    Federal officials have said that distributors of painkillers often turn a blind eye to suspiciously large orders for medications by pharmacies, and that drugstores fail to properly identify customers who intend to divert drugs to the streets.

    If the prescriber does not do their due diligence and doesn’t properly ID the patient that they are writing controls for.. the RPH.. can get ICD9′s and inquire about the pt from the prescriber until HELL FREEZES OVER … and guess what.. they drugs will still get to the street..

    Of course, healthcare professionals have no way of verifying the driver’s license presented is actually the driver’s license provided by the state’s BMV and the SS database is only suppose to be used for an employer to keep from hiring illegals… and besides doesn’t have pictures..

    The bureaucrats made the submission to the state’s PMP virtually transparent.. but.. try to get a report back.. where you have to key in data points for 1-2 minutes before you can get a report.. not so transparent…

    and if you can’t verify the ID.. you are helping to corrupt the PMP database.. by putting that information into the database..

    When it comes right down to it.. the only really valid data in the PMP database is the drug, qt and pharmacy where it was filled.. if the Rx & ID was forged.. you are the only one playing the game – according to the rules..

    a few years ago.. I saw a quote from a DEA agent that simple stated that NO PHARMACIST can be 100% compliant.. the rules are to complex and complicated…

    This 80 million fine with WAGS.. was just another 80 million that the DEA can put in their “kitty”.. to help fight this war on drugs.. and we have only been doing this since the Harrison Narcotic Act (1914)..

    The last war that we “won” was WWII and that took two A-bombs.. IMO.. the war on drugs have become a self-perpetuating INDUSTRY….

  4. Crazy RxMan  •  Jun 12, 2013 @11:18 pm

    Is this why Cardinal is so damn fussy about the 222 form?

  5. drsteverx  •  Jun 13, 2013 @9:15 am

    @Crazy RXMan
    I suspect they have handwriting experts to analyze every 222. I had some rejected for only the slightest hint of a trace of hesitation when writing a number. How many of these 222 are actually altered after I sign it and give to the driver. I am going with never. The DEA has harnessed the power of computers finally and most wholesalers have CSOS so we don’t have to rely on such nonsense

  6. Peon  •  Jun 13, 2013 @12:43 pm

    Steve, as you say, no pharmacist is going to be 100% complaint. At my store, we spend a lot of time taking prescriptions off the IVR and then adding all the information required by the DEA. It takes like ‘forever’ to write out a phoned rx for a controlled substance. And, it is all for nothing(other than to pacify the DEA), because a sticker will be put on the back of the rx with all the information. But, we have been told that we must write out all that information about the patient and the doc. The docs clinic, address, phone number, DEA, and etc. And, yes, we are going to miss 1 in a 100 rx’s getting every little bit of this information on it. Never mind that our computer prints a sticker with all that information that goes on the back of the rx.
    These government agencies have to justify their budget, so they try to make the headlines about what a wonderful job they are doing. Just look at all the ‘corruption’ the DEA has found with pharmacies and drugs. Just look how prescription drug abuse has exploded. The one thing you can be sure about is the DEA will never get hold of the problem with prescription abuse(such as it is), but they will make it difficult if not impossible for the sick people that really need the pain drugs to get them.
    Never believe the NEWS. There are these headlines about the DEA finding this ‘corruption’ in pharmacy chains. Well, maybe there is some, but is it anything to the extent the DEA portrays it? I don’t see anywhere I work or have worked(and I have worked a lot of different places) any abuse by pharmacies. The pharmacists I have encountered have been very conservative toward filling rx’s for controlled substances.
    I have heard, through this blog, that some of the chains are trying to force pharmacists to fill every legitimate rx for a controlled substance. First, no one is going to force me to fill a rx that I don’t feel comfortable filling. Listen up folks…the way you handle this situation is to tell the patient you are out of the drug. Don’t waste your time phoning docs and checking prescription monitoring programs. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t fill it and use the excuse I just stated. Who can prove you are not telling the truth? Even if the on hands say you have the drug, you can always say, I over looked it…so sorry. Who can prove otherwise?

  7. cvsconsumesyoursoul  •  Jun 13, 2013 @5:18 pm

    Honestly as it relates to C2′s, they just need to outlaw crossing state lines to fill them. If you get an rx in say Florida (the worst offender) then you must fill in florida. Then it is up to the individual states to set strict laws within their own jurisdiction. Honestly, I have stopped stocking my safe except for the people I know aren’t full of shit. Because of this hardcore stance by Walgreens, CVS is basically doing the same thing. I have a huge influx of patient’s who were turned away from Walgreens or didn’t want to conform to their new rules coming my way. Sorry but if you aren’t a regular, I am not filling shit for you. That is what it has come to considering I work at a major transient summer vacation business store. People from 5 states come here during the summer and bring their oxy scripts which routinely are for 180-340 tablets and think they are going to drink and fill their shit at my store. Nope.

    The prescribing practices are complete bullshit where I am. No rational prescribing. No long acting with short acting fro breakthrough. A conversation with a local ER doc showed that their hospital ENCOURAGES ER docs to write for percocet because it INCREASES their satisfaction scores. What the hell!?!? The problems with pharmacy are rooted very much in the prescribers themselves.

    I have told many a patient recently that just because you have a prescription doesn’t mean that I am automatically obligated to fill it. Those days are over. If your quack pain doc can’t provide me with sufficient enough information regarding your treatment plan, diagnosis code, etc that I am going to exercise my professional judgement to not fill based on potential harm to the patient. Surprisingly, CVS is on board with that….not that they want to, however the DEA is so far up their asses they are scared…

  8. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jun 13, 2013 @8:24 pm

    I am aware of at least one other CVS… that has taken that same stance.. the PIC has went as far as mandating that no controls – except from the local ER – are filled between 22:00 and 08:00.. and I have been told that when the legit pts go elsewhere for their controls .. they take all the rest of their drugs with them.. and that store’s weekly Rx count is dropping like a rock.. I understand that the business at the local indy.. is going thru the roof..

    IMO.. soon this CVS will only be filling BC’s, antibiotics and cough and cold products..

    I personally got caught in the new WAGS policy on C-II’s treating a sciatic nerve pain.. my PCP won’t play WAGS ICD9 game..

    IMO.. it will not be long before we see a series of lawsuits over denial of service, pt/senior abuse…

    The RPH’s that claim that they have no obligation to fill any controls they don’t want to.. may find themselves in a court of law .. explaining why they discriminate on certain segment of pts..

    I believe that it will be interesting how the ADA will be interpreted by the courts on this matter… since nearly all the legit pts that take these drugs.. are probably covered under ADA…

    if fact, the drug addicts are also probably covered under the ADA … just the dealers may not be covered by the ADA…

  9. Cvsconsumesyoursoul  •  Jun 14, 2013 @7:06 am

    I personally am not concerned in the least about a potential lawsuit when “professional judgement” comes into play. Sure the idiot pharmacist who stands there and tells a patient they believe they are seeking could have an issue. However I would assume that all states pharmacy practice acts in addition to the federal act speak about the pharmacists corresponding responsibilty and due diligence when it comes to filling c2′s. Doctors reluctance to provide things such as diagnosis codes should be considered as more detrimental than anything as it is an integral part of the picture when potentially determining therapy validity. Blindly filling a c2 or any control for tha matter should be construed as negligence especially in the face of rampant national drug abuse.

    In my particular case, many of these patents I have never seen before and are coming from 2-400 miles from my store. They have passed up how many pharmacies to get here? Additionally all controls have been eliminated from cvs volume count so no funny games in terms of bonus and pressure from middle management exists. It’s all about doing your job. If you can prove that it’s legit and prescribed in good faith within the scope of that doctors area of expertise and rational therapy then by all means document and fill. 280 perc 5/325 with no long acting is quite suspicious IMO…

  10. broncofan7  •  Jun 14, 2013 @12:26 pm

    There needs to be oversight done by the PRESCRIBERS themselves; this is the DEA being chicken sh*t and targeting big corporations for a maximum payout. Physicians have a much more controlled environment to be able to properly address their patients…1) patient signs in 2) patient waits in waiting room 3) patient is seen by nurse and finally 4) patient is seen by the physician. Pharmacists should not be tasked with being able to properly gauge whether or not a patient is telling us the truth or not by a simple 30 second interaction.There needs to be a national database that allows physicians to lookup up patient by D/O/B, SS# and address so that the PRESCRIBERS can write for VALID prescriptions only. We are far to busy and far too accessible to discern whether or not an RX is Legitimate or not….to further my point, we do not have access to physician chart notes. This policy that the DEA has adopted is misguide at best and driven by pure greed at worst.

  11. anonymous  •  Jun 14, 2013 @2:48 pm

    Long been an issue in this area. Many old school family drs prescribing hundreds of percs without an ER formulation for the older pts. I have known pts on this regimen 1 tab q3hr prn for years. Sometimes the ER stuff is too much for them. Also a pet peeve is the Drs who write call office for the DEA number. No, you need to write it in and if you don’t trust your staff, do something. Audits are very stringent now, you need just about everything on that rx to make it valid. Good luck doing that overnight when the dr.’s office is closed.

  12. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jun 14, 2013 @6:20 pm

    I have never suggested that a RPH fill everything that comes in the door.. and it is appropriate to have a list of possible “red flags” on pts.. and two-three red flags and you tell them good-by… some read flags weigh a little more than others…

    Most pts will get their Rxs filled within 2-3 miles of doc office, work, home are on the path between any of the above… of course it depends on area.. I live out in the “country” and the closest pharmacy is nearly 5 miles… but it is close to our doc’s office.

    you should insist on a driver’s license OF THE PATIENT.. if old enough to drive.. taking a driver’s license of the patient’s brother.. wife’s cousin.. doesn’t cut it… Anyone can get a state issued ID.. which looks like a driver’s license..

    Each pharmacy should have a list of red flags and everyone needs to stick to the list and how many red flags it takes to turn a pt away..

    Just like the word gets out that a pharmacy is “easy”.. it will also get out that a particular pharmacy plays “hard ball” and they will go elsewhere…

  13. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jun 15, 2013 @8:05 am

    It appears the greedy companies who had attitude of get profits any way you can such as filling all the C11 prescriptions that came in will pay the price- and here the price is 80 million. Maybe not even enough. Close many stores, and take away DEA licenses. When it hurts profits companies tend to listen. That is why pharmacist need same kind of action. Hurt the profits anyway you can legally and one way is to unionize and kit some corporate ass.

  14. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jun 15, 2013 @8:06 am

    kick some corporate ass—thank you DEA, keep up the good work, sleep with one eye open—evil they are

  15. anonymous  •  Jun 15, 2013 @2:11 pm

    A little off topic but has any CVS employee just received an email from for a federal criminal background check. It seems fraudulent because the email is usually It was in the spam folder.

  16. AJ  •  Jun 15, 2013 @5:16 pm

    JP did you really think Walgreens was any different? Walgreens is just as bad as CVS.

  17. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jun 15, 2013 @9:57 pm

    Have you ever been to a national convention for a industry?? Seminar after seminar about how we are doing something better.. cheaper… make more money.. There are really not many new ideas.. just new twists to old ideas.. If it isn’t covered by a seminar.. there is probably a vendor on the exhibit floor pushing some new product – software program to help do something better… cheaper.. make more money..

    We use to go to many national conventions.. mostly NCPA & HME industry ..and would sit through hours & hours of seminars to pick up one-two “jewels” to take back home and implement.

    Just go to and look at the content of their recent annual convention.. to get a clue.. where all the “new ideas” come from… and how all their operations start to emulate/mirror each other’s

  18. Peon  •  Jun 15, 2013 @10:18 pm

    Steve, I took a look NACD’s schedule. Same old stuff I have seen since I started in pharmacy. There was one thing that did stand out:
    “SVP, Non-Perishables Alcohol-Tobacco,Family Care & Home Care-GM”.
    Safeway is doing that presentation.

  19. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jun 15, 2013 @10:41 pm

    Steve– A look at what we have today.
    2012 Retailers (Alphabetical Listing)
    Back to Participating Companies

    Alliance Boots Navarro Discount Pharmacies
    The Bartell Drug Company 99 Cents Only Stores
    Bi Lo – Winn Dixie OMNICARE, INC.
    BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. Osborn Drugs, Inc.
    CARE Pharmacies Cooperative, Inc. Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy
    Chain Drug Consortium, LLC Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd.
    Costco Wholesale dba Costco Pharmacies Rexall Pharma Plus
    CSPN, Community Specialty Pharmacy Network Rite Aid Corporation
    CVS Caremark Corporation Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc.
    Dollar General Corp. Safeway Inc. Sam’s Club
    Family Dollar Stores Schnuck Markets, Inc.
    Farmacia Guadalajara S.A. de C.V. Sears Holdings Corporation
    Fruth Pharmacy Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
    Genoa Healthcare Holdings, LLC Sinopharm Group Co., Ltd.
    Good Neighbor Pharmacy Sobey’s Inc.
    Hannaford Bros., Co. Target
    Health Mart Thriftway/Zitomer Drug
    Hi-School Pharmacy Services LLC Thrifty White Pharmacy
    Hy-Vee Inc. Topco Associates LLC
    Implozia Pharmacy Network Ulta Beauty
    Kerr Drug, Inc. USA Drug
    Kinney Drugs, Inc. Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite
    Lewis Drugs, Inc. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    London Drugs Limited Walgreen Co.
    Medicine Shoppe International, Inc. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
    Meijer, Inc.

  20. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jun 15, 2013 @10:44 pm

    Ahold USA Medicine Shoppe International, Inc.
    Alliance Boots Meijer, Inc.
    The Bartell Drug Company Navarro Discount Pharmacies
    BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. New Albertsons, Inc.
    CARE Pharmacies Cooperative, Inc. 99 Cents Only Stores
    Chain Drug Consortium, LLC OMNICARE, INC.
    Costco Wholesale dba Costco Pharmacies Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy
    CSPN, Community Specialty Pharmacy Network Rexall Pharma Plus
    CVS Caremark Corporation Rite Aid Corporation
    Delhaize America, Inc. Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc.
    Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy Safeway Inc.
    Dollar General Corp. Sam’s Club Sav-On Drugs
    Family Dollar Stores Schnuck Markets, Inc.
    Farmacia Guadalajara S.A. de C.V. Sears Holdings Corporation
    Farmacorp S.A. 7-Eleven, Inc.
    Farmatodo, C.A. Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
    Fruth Pharmacy SUPERVALU INC.
    Good Neighbor Pharmacy Target
    H-E-B Thriftway/Zitomer Drug
    Haggen Food & Pharmacy Thrifty White Pharmacy
    Health Mart Topco Associates LLC
    Health House Pharmacies Ulta Beauty
    Hi-School Pharmacy Services LLC USA Drug
    Hy-Vee Inc. Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite
    Implozia Pharmacy Network Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Kerr Drug, Inc. Walgreen Co.
    Kinney Drugs, Inc. Walgreens Boots Alliance Development GmbH
    Lewis Drugs, Inc. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
    London Drugs Limited

  21. bcmigal  •  Jun 18, 2013 @1:36 pm

    I really have no objection to a “ruling” that protects my license. I do not want my name attached to a multimillion dollar fine from the DEA. Our chain was recently fined $25,000 per prescription for DEA violations. But I do blame the concentration on “metrics” which may lead a pharmacist to suspend his/her good judgement. A pharmacist was recently fired for “clearing” the fax/e-script queue by simple deleting the prescriptions. This queue and others are constantly monitored by corporate and to say this produces an incredible amount of stress and anxiety is a gross understatement. PICs are called out and shamed during conference calls. They then take out their anger and frustration on the staff who are already working their butts off. We are told that more hours are being cut. This will certainly help to get the work done that cannot be accomplished with the current level of staffing. The answer to our complaints is “your need to make better use of your time”. Huh?

  22. Dan Roth  •  Feb 8, 2015 @4:10 pm

    I am a lawyer and I agree that the groundless refusal to fill a CII for a senior who is probably subject to ADA will likely eventually get you caught up in litigation. No court will approve conduct which is arbitrary and/or unreasonable and constitutes an abuse of discretion. That will be written into your code of ethics if need be but it will definitely be enforced. That is the same standard for getting a judge reversed on appeal. I would be very careful turning people away without an articulable valid reason and I would strongly suggest keeping records when you do it. The lies about inventory are self defeating. It never pays to lie and can turn ethical conduct into unethical conduct. All it takes is one little guy biting back and none of it will have been worth it.

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>