Texas pharmacy must pay $275K over unlawful opioid distribution

A San Antonio-based pharmacy and pharmacist have been ordered by a federal court to pay $275,000 for the unlawful distribution of opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions, according to an Oct. 11 news release.

The court order resolves a 2022 civil complaint against Zarzamora Healthcare LLC, doing business as Rite-Away Pharmacy & Medical Supply #2 and its pharmacist owner Jitendra Chaudhary. The complaint alleged that "the defendants repeatedly dispensed opioids and other controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substances Act by filling prescriptions while ignoring 'red flags' – that is, obvious indications that the prescriptions were not for any legitimate medical use," according to the release. And "alleged that the defendants altered prescriptions that lacked required information in order to make them appear to be in compliance with DEA regulations."

The initial complaint also noted that a patient died from an overdose following the pharmacy's refill of a fentanyl prescription. 

Following the complaint, the court sought a permanent injunction against the pharmacist and pharmacy to prevent further dispensing of opioid prescriptions. 

"A pharmacist must resolve all 'red flags' before the dispensation of any prescription drugs," Daniel Comeaux, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency's Houston Division, stated in the release. "If the requirements of a proper prescription are not met, the men and women of the DEA Diversion Control Division are always ready to hold these pharmacists accountable."

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