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    Small Doses: March 2018 Edition

    Easy-to-swallow news and studies for the busy pharmacist.


    Opioid bottle

    U.S. Agencies Step Up Pill Mill Prosecution

    The U.S. Department of Justice and the DEA are continuing their battle against pill mills.

    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated in late January, that there will be a DEA-led “surge” that will focus on doctors and pharmacists  who dispense unusually large amounts of narcotics. Sessions has also announced the DOJ’s formation of the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, which consists of dozens of FBI agents and intelligence analysts dedicated to stopping the illegal sale of opioids on the internet. 

    “DEA agents and analysts will scour the 80 million reports the agency receives every year from drug manufacturers and distributors to identity what the DOJ calls statistical outliers,” says Adam Overstreet, counsel in the Health Care practice group at Burr & Forman in Birmingham, AL.

    “The DOJ’s ‘pill mill’ initiative is showing no signs of slowing down in 2018—in fact, it is gaining steam.”

    In late 2017, the DEA identified 26 pharmacies in California, Hawaii, and Nevada that may be illegally trafficking opioids. The investigation is part of the agency’s Operation Faux Pharmacy, which has resulted in the seizure of nearly 600,000 dosage units of scheduled drugs nationwide.

    Last August, a New Jersey pharmacist was convicted in federal court of distributing and illegally dispensing oxycodone from two pharmacies he owned—just one of several cases the DOJ brought against pharmacists in 2017.

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