Omnicare to pay $15M to settle charges of improperly dispensing opioids

CVS subsidiary Omnicare agreed to pay the U.S. $15.3 million May 13 to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by allowing opioids and other controlled substances to be dispensed without valid prescriptions. 

Omnicare is the country's largest provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities and was acquired by CVS Health in 2015. It operates 160 pharmacies around the country and dispenses prescription drugs to over a million patients per year. 

The federal government filed a lawsuit in December 2019 alleging Omnicare pharmacies illegally distributed drugs to elderly and disabled residents of thousands of assisted living facilities.

Omnicare operates pharmacies that aren't open to the public and deliver controlled substances to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. It also supplies emergency kits of controlled substances at long-term care facilities, which contain opioids and other controlled substances that are commonly abused and diverted. 

The U.S. Justice Department accused Omnicare of failing to control the emergency kits by improperly allowing long-term care facilities to remove opioids and other controlled substances from the kits without a valid prescription from a physician. The Justice Department also said Omnicare repeatedly failed to document and report oral emergency prescriptions of schedule II controlled substances. 

In addition to the $15.3 million civil penalty, Omnicare entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration that requires it to increase its auditing and monitoring of emergency kits at long-term care facilities. 

Read the Justice Department's full news release here

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