CVS pays $70G to resolve accusations of filling fraudulent prescriptions

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CONCORD - CVS has agreed to pay $70,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Controlled Substances Act at CVS stores in New Hampshire, the state's U.S. Attorneys Office announced on Thursday.

"Pharmacies have a legal responsibility to ensure that controlled substances are dispensed only pursuant to valid prescriptions," said U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young. "When pharmacies ignore red flags that a prescription is fraudulent, they miss a critical opportunity to prevent prescription drugs from being misused or diverted for unlawful uses or into the black market. We will use the Controlled Substances Act along with all other available tools to protect the residents of New Hampshire. I am grateful to the DEA's diversion investigators for their investigative work in this case."

"Pharmacies are responsible for handling controlled substances responsibly and staying in compliance with the Controlled Substance Act," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. "Any violation of that will not be tolerated. We are committed to working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure that these rules and regulations are followed."

The U.S. Attorney's Office contended that CVS pharmacists filled 41 forged prescriptions of Adderall, Ritalin, and Xanax, according to a press release sent out on Thursday. This affirmative civil enforcement resulted from two separate criminal investigations into individuals who filled prescriptions at multiple CVS pharmacies in New Hampshire.

Theodoros Bahtsevanos pleaded guilty in June 2019 to two counts of misuse of a DEA registration number and one count of possession of five or more false identification documents, based on his presentment and obtaining numerous prescriptions under fictitious names. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante to 3 years of probation on April 30, 2020.

Jane Mastrogiovanni pleaded guilty to 10 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge in July 2020 based on her use of forged prescriptions to obtain controlled substances. She was sentenced to 3 years of probation on Feb. 5, 2021, following transfer of the case to the U.S. District Court for New Jersey.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, a valid prescription for a controlled substance must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his or her practice. Based on its investigation, the government alleged that the pharmacists at CVS should have known that they were presented with invalid prescriptions that should not have been filled.

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