Board of Pharmacy Fines and Disciplines AmerisourceBergen for “Excessive” Opioid Shipments

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By Stephanie Mendivil

On January 22, 2020, the Board adopted a Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order which fined AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation for shipping “excessive” amounts of opioids and other controlled substances to pharmacies across California. The Board also publicly reproved AmerisourceBergen’s license through disciplinary action. AmerisourceBergen will not be able to renew its permit until it pays the Board for cost recovery and civil penalties associated with the investigation and enforcement of the matter.

On October 31, 2018, Virginia Herold (Executive Officer of the Board of Pharmacy at the time) filed a Second Amended Accusation No. 4982 (Exhibit A) against AmerisourceBergen alleging that from January 1, 2012 to March 2015, AmerisourceBergen sold “excessive” amounts of opioids to several California pharmacies. The accusation alleged several instances in which pharmacies appeared on AmerisourceBergen’s “over threshold report,” yet AmerisourceBergen did not reject all controlled substance orders from those pharmacies as protocol required, and instead continued to furnish controlled substances to the pharmacies.

The accusation alleged four causes for disciplinary action against AmerisourceBergen: first, that AmerisourceBergen failed to comply with its corresponding responsibility to furnish controlled substances for a legitimate medical purpose when it continued to furnish controlled substances to pharmacies that appeared on its “over threshold report;” second, that AmerisourceBergen failed to report suspicious drug orders to the Drug Enforcement Administration; third, that AmerisourceBergen was subject to discipline for clearly excessive furnishing of controlled substances; and fourth, that AmerisourceBergen engaged in unprofessional conduct regarding the factual allegations addressed in the accusation.

On August 23, 2019, AmerisourceBergen signed a Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order for Public Reproval in resolution of Second Amended Accusation No. 4982. AmerisourceBergen is held jointly and severally liable to pay $10,000 to the Board for its costs associated with the investigation and enforcement of the matter. AmerisourceBergen is also held jointly and severally liable to pay $140,000 to the Board for the civil penalty associated with discipline in the matter. If AmerisourceBergen fails to pay the Board for its civil penalty, AmerisourceBergen will not be allowed to renew its Wholesaler Permits until it pays the Board in full. The Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order for Public Reproval was ordered on January 22, 2020. The Decision became effective at 5:00 p.m. on February 21, 2020.

 

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