Darien Pharmacy, pharmacist agree to $3.1 million civil judgment

Darien Pharmacy, pharmacist agree to $3.1 million civil judgment
(Source: Gray News)

DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - A Darien pharmacy and former pharmacist-in-charge have agreed to judgments totaling over $3 million to resolve a civil lawsuit alleging they filled thousands of prescriptions for illegitimate medical reasons.

Darien Pharmacy and its former pharmacist-in-charge, Janice Ann Colter, agreed to the judgments to resolve claims they violated the Controlled Substance Act, according to U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement is a result of the first-ever Controlled Substances Act lawsuit filed by the United States against a pharmacy in the history of the Southern District of Georgia.

The suit alleges that many of the excessive prescriptions filled by Colter and Darien Pharmacy were written by Dr. Frank Bynes, Jr., who was recently convicted in U.S. District Court on multiple counts of Unlawful Dispensation of Controlled Substances and Health Care Fraud. During a two-year period, Darien Pharmacy dispensed more units of controlled substances prescribed by Dr. Bynes than by any other doctor, according to the suit, despite a distance of nearly 100 miles between Dr. Bynes’ practice and the pharmacy.

Inventory audits also showed the pharmacy was unable to account for all the controlled substances coming into the pharmacy, according to the suit.

In addition to the Darien Pharmacy settlement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office also recently reached civil settlements with two other pharmacists and pharmacies in the Southern District for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act:

  • Liberty Square Pharmacy and its former pharmacist-in-charge, Wilton Clinton “Clint” Meeks, III, of Waynesboro, Ga., agreed to pay $150,000 to settle claims related to their inability to account for tens of thousands of pills including Oxycodone and Soma; and,
  • Ludowici Drugs and its pharmacist-in-charge, John S. Townsend, of Ludowici, Ga., agreed to pay $55,000 to settle claims that they failed to keep required records to account for several categories of controlled substances, and unlawfully dispensed controlled substances pursuant to invalid oral and written prescriptions on numerous occasions.

These civil cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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