JUPITER, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Six Walgreens stores and a distribution center in Central and South Florida have come under Drug Enforcement Administration scrutiny over their sales of prescription pain killers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the DEA is investigating whether Walgreens allowed a suspiciously large number of pain pill sales. Agents said the sales could indicate the pills are being diverted to drug dealers and addicts.
DEA records cited in the Walgreens affidavit show sharp increases in oxycodone purchases at each of the locations.
One of the Walgreens under investigation in Fort Myers went from selling 95,800 units of oxycodone in 2009 to more than 2.1 million units in 2011, good for 67 percent of all the oxycodone purchased by pharmacies in that same zip code in 2011.
In the first two months of 2012, the DEA said that 53 Walgreens pharmacies were listed in the agency’s top 100 purchasers of oxycodone. In 2009, none were on the list.
Walgreens is reportedly cooperating with the DEA in the investigation. The Journal reported the stores in question are in south and central Florida while the distribution center is located in Jupiter, Florida.
The DEA has been involved in the fight against prescription pain killer abuse in another high profile case this year. The administration moved to suspend the sale of controlled substances by two CVS pharmacies in Orlando and the shipment of them from Cardinal Health Inc’s Lakeland-based supply center.
In the CVS case, the DEA said pharmacies were dispensing the painkiller oxycodone far in excess of legitimate needs. CVS said it has taken steps to reduce the prescriptions.
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