Justice Department halts opioid distribution at 2 Tennessee pharmacies

Two pharmacies in Nashville, Tenn., were hit with a restraining order by the U.S. Justice Department that prohibits them from dispensing controlled substance medications, according to the Herald-Citizen.

In a civil complaint unsealed Feb. 8, federal prosecutors claim that Dale Hollow Pharmacy and Xpress Pharmacy of Clay County were dispensing and billing Medicare for prescriptions in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and the False Claims Act. The prescriptions allegedly were filled outside the usual course of professional practice without ensuring they were written for a legitimate medical purpose.

Defendants in the case also include the owner, Thomas Weir, and pharmacists John Polston, Michael Griffith and Larry Larkin.

The unlawful dispensing has been tied to the deaths of at least two people, and several others have been treated for serious overdoses at local hospitals after being dispensed opioids at the pharmacies, according to the complaint

The U.S. is seeking monetary penalties and triple damages.

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