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Aside from routine audits and inspections, a DEA audit can be a concerning matter. A search warrant may be obtained to investigate, or the DEA may request to inspect your facility. As a result of prescription drug abuse, the DEA has stepped up its monitoring and intervention in matters they find problematic. This can mean serious consequences for everyone involved in the process if things don’t add up correctly. Pharmacy store owners, pharmacy managers, pharmacists, and technicians are all held accountable for the monitoring and responsibility of prescription drugs. In most cases, controlled substances are likely to be the target of the investigation. If you’re facing a DEA audit or have received indications that point to an audit being likely, you’ll want to contact a highly skilled attorney to represent you.
Since the DEA is a federal law enforcement agency, they may be working together with local agencies to investigate the matter. All too often, immunity is given to those who will reveal the source of their supplier when selling prescription drugs illegally. This means that your pharmacy may be unjustly targeted or falsely accused of wrongdoing. Contact with local law enforcement regarding prescription drugs is often a strong indicator that the DEA may also be involved or soon will be. The DEA may also show up with a search warrant indicating that they’ve been given permission to conduct an inspection. Even during a routine audit, they’re able to take legal action if they suspect drug diversion or theft within the pharmacy. If you have a reason to be concerned, it’s always best to get in touch with a federal criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
Recordkeeping plays a critical role in the audit and inspection process. Incomplete records and missing records are red flags to any inspector. They’ll also be looking for clues that might lead to diversionary practices or theft. Having records of all the controlled substances purchased, dispensed, on order, and any thefts are all important. Having the appropriate logbooks, DEA forms, and all other information that you’re expected to keep recorded should always be complete and ready for inspection. Other items that raise concern are “ghost” prescriptions and automatic refills of prescriptions that don’t appear to have been received by the patient. Items such as a messy workplace and reports made against your pharmacy are also reasons for the auditors to look further into things. Policies and procedures regarding controlled substances and theft are also important to have on hand. The entire pharmacy staff should also be familiar with these policies if questioned. Should the investigation yield negative results, it’s more than likely that criminal charges will be filed.
Since the DEA is a federal agency, the effects of being charged with a crime are long-lasting and serious. Aside from losing credentials and licensing, civil penalties may apply as well. A negative DEA outcome can also cause a chain reaction in claims by other parties such as patients, physicians, insurance companies, and the drug companies themselves. Sister state and local penalties may apply as well. This is only a small sampling of the many negative effects a DEA targeted audit and inspection can bring. Attempting to take these matters into your own hands is highly inadvisable for any pharmacy or pharmacist. The courts aren’t sympathetic in these types of cases since they’re regarding a topic that’s highly controversial. If you’ve been notified of an audit or one has recently been initiated, get in touch with our offices for a case review, today.