Walgreens To Pay $80 Million In Settlement Over Black Market Painkillers

Walgreens — or, as known by its proper name, Walgreen — has agreed to pony up a whopping $80 million to settle claims by the government that it was negligent in allowing painkillers to end up on the black market. It’s the largest settlement in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is the result of an investigation into a distribution center in Florida that had been receiving a high number of prescription pain meds from six pharmacies in the state.

The problem was, reports CNNMoney, that the center failed to report that unusually high number, something the DEA requires it to do. That allowed for three times the averaged order for painkillers like oxycodone to end up at those pharmacies. Even though those pharmacies knew the drugs were probably not for legitimate use, the DEA says, everyone stayed mum.

All in all, the DEA claims there were tens of thousands of violations.

“Every day, individuals die from prescription drug overdoses. For this reason, we cannot allow pharmacies to circumvent their regulatory record-keeping and dispensing obligations,” said U.S. attorney Wifredo Ferrer.

That particular distribution center is also banned from distributing and dispensing other similar controlled substances until 2014. The settlement covers several other investigations nationwide in states like Colorado and New York.

Walgreen said in a statement that it has “identified specific compliance measures … to enhance our ordering processes and inventory systems, to provide our team members with the tools, training and support they need to ensure the appropriate dispensing of controlled substances.”

Walgreen to pay $80 million in painkiller settlement [CNNMoney]