Judge: DEA Can Suspend Drug Sales at CVS Stores
There’s no doubt that there is a prescription drug abuse problem in the U.S. today. Some pharmacies post signs in stores telling addicts and likely armed robbers that painkillers such as oxycodone are not kept on the premises.
There are, however, a small percentage of pharmacies around the country that do a steady trade dispensing addictive drugs prescribed by physicians to people for reasons outside of legitimate medicine.
Recently the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has made headlines by taking steps to prevent pharmacies from selling addictive drugs. But instead of the stores being some stereotypical back alley operation, they were CVS pharmacies. The two locations in Sanford, FL had their licenses suspended for what the agency believed were unusually high sales of oxycodone.
CVS had gone to court and gotten a temporary restraining order that blocked the DEA, asserting the agency had acted in an arbitrary manner. But a judge at a U.S. District Court vacated the restraining order yesterday after determining the government had acted appropriately.
According to The Associated Press, CVS argued that it has retrained pharmacists and reduced the level of oxycodone prescriptions in the two stores by 86 percent over the past year.
The DEA countered that, even with the improvement, the locations were dispensing far more than they should be. The government also said that it had met with CVS in 2010 and 2011 to warn it of possible consequences if it did not comply with guidelines to deter prescription drug abuse.
- U.S. can stop some drug sales at 2 CVS stores: judge – Reuters
- Judge Rules Against CVS in Oxycodone Fight – The Wall Street Journal
- Judge upholds suspension of 2 Fla. CVS pharmacies from sale of controlled substances – The Associated Press/The Washington Post
Discussion Questions: Ethically speaking and from a business standpoint, what role do you believe pharmacies should have in preventing the abuse of prescription drugs? Should the government be more involved in identifying pharmacies dispensing unusually high volumes of addictive drugs and taking action including the suspension of licenses?