Walgreens has been handed the largest fine in the history of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act
Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, will pay $80 million in fines to end a DEA probe into allegations it allowed millions of controlled substances, including the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone, to reach the black market.
The settlement is the largest civil penalty paid under the Controlled Substances Act in Drug Enforcement Administration history, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Tuesday.
Walgreens committed "an unprecedented number" of record-keeping and dispensing violations, Ferrer said.
In September, the DEA accused Walgreens of endangering public safety and barred the company from shipping oxycodone and other controlled drugs from its Jupiter, Fla., distribution center. The distribution center was the largest supplier of oxycodone to retail pharmacies in Florida, the DEA said.
"The distribution centers are the first line of defense," Ferrer said.
As part of the settlement, the DEA suspended the controlled substance licenses for Walgreens' Jupiter distribution center until September 2014 and six of its Florida pharmacies until May 2014. The company has more than 800 pharmacies in Florida.
The settlement also closes similar investigation in Colorado, Michigan and New York, Ferrer said.