The federal government filed suit against pharmacies in Clay County, Tennessee for inappropriately dispensing opioids according to The Tennessean. Clay County consists of 8,000 residents, yet opioid prescriptions are dispensed at a rate of 191.3 prescriptions per 100 people- the highest of any county in Tennessee and more than three times the national average.
Two pharmacies in Clay County- Xpress Pharmacy and Dale Hallow Pharmacy- are at the center of the federal lawsuit. Both share the same majority owner. The pharmacies allegedly distributed extraordinary numbers of opioids to people without valid prescriptions and billed Medicare. An inspection of Xpress found that roughly 50% of all drugs it dispensed were controlled substances, far in excess of the 15-20% that is typical of pharmacies.
The government is using a dual-pronged approach of civil and criminal actions, one of the first of its kind. Don Conhran, attorney for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee stated, “It was a novel approach. Our thought was that we needed to use every tool at our disposal.”
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