Friday, June 20, 2014

California Board of Pharmacy Obtains Interim Suspension Order Against Pharmacy and Pharmacist Due To Counterfeit Drugs and Violations of Pharmacy Law

Over the past seven years, there has been increased investigations on illegal drug diversion at pharmacies and the sale of counterfeit prescription medications at pharmacies. There have been companies and individuals which have been accused of buying back prescription medications from patients and selling them to distributors who create false records of authenticity or selling them to pharmacies at a reduced price.  

In a recent California Pharmacy Board case, the Board sought and obtained an Interim Suspension Order against a pharmacy, Adams Square Pharmacy in Glendale, California, arising from the pharmacy returning counterfeit Cialis to Eli Lilly through a pharmaceutical reverse distributor. This was pursuant to Business and Profession Code Section 494(a)(2) on the grounds that the pharmacy posed a danger to the public health, safety and welfare. the judge also found that the return of the counterfeit Cialis was dishonesty, fraud or deceit. Here is a copy of the decision on the interim order.  The order shut down the pharmacy. The order also precludes the pharmacist owner Margarita Kazarian from working as a pharmacist in charge.  The Los Angeles Times also reported on this matter.  The Pharmacy Board has indicated that it will file an Accusation against Ms. Kazarian by July 1, 2014.

The primary ground for the suspension was that the pharmacy had counterfeit Cialis tablets in its stock. This was discovered when  the Cialis returned by the pharmacy was found to be counterfeit Lilly drug product and were returned in a genuine Lilly packaging and container. The Pharmacy Board conducted an inspection on November 11, 2013 and found more counterfeit Cialis in the pharmacy and numerous other Pharmacy Board violations.

Pharmacies need to be vigilant in their ordering and be careful when ordering from distributors who are selling trade name drugs at prices below the manufacturers. There are currently federal criminal cases filed throughout the country regarding the operation of businesses dealing in counterfeit drugs or drugs that have been recycles through the system through pharmacies or patients. In the Los Angeles area, there were groups who bought prescription drugs from patients and then repackaged them with fake certificates and resold them into the stream of commerce. This is considered illegal drug diversion.

Pharmacies should check their stock, their suppliers and make sure this does not happen to them.  In addition, the pharmacies should be ready for inspections without the issues that this pharmacy faced which included failing to maintain adequate records of sales, disposition, and acquisition of medications; expired medications on the shelf; overfilled containers; etc.  This is also considered unprofessional conduct.

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq.
Green and Associates, Attorneys at Law
Phone: 213-233-2260


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