* DEA continues to pressure Florida pharmacies
* Moves come amid crackdown on prescription drug abuse
* Issues three orders to show cause to Walgreens pharmacies
Nov 28 The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
is probing three Walgreen Co pharmacies in Florida in
connection with a wide-ranging investigation into the diversion
of prescription drugs for illicit use.
The Miami Field Division of the DEA issued the pharmacies
with orders to show cause - or notifications that are given to
facilities requiring them to prove why they should be allowed to
keep their licenses.
The pharmacies affected are Walgreens #04727 in Fort Pierce;
Walgreens #03629 in Hudson; and Walgreens #06997 in Oviedo.
Two representatives of Walgreen did not immediately respond
to phone calls seeking comment.
The actions by the DEA do not immediately prevent the
pharmacies from handling or distributing potentially addictive
controlled substances such as sedatives and narcotic
However, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the
DEA's Miami Field Division, said the diversion of prescription
drugs continues to be a "great concern for the DEA".
In April the DEA said it would inspect six Walgreens
pharmacies and its Florida distribution center after the agency
noticed a jump in purchases of the painkiller oxycodone. On
September 14, the distribution center' registration was
suspended. An administrative hearing is scheduled to begin on
that matter on January 7, 2013.
The DEA has been ratcheting up its focus on drug wholesalers
and pharmacies over the past year as attempts to battle what the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a prescription
drug abuse epidemic. Deaths from narcotic painkillers now exceed
those of heroin and cocaine combined.
Florida has long been considered the epicenter of
prescription drug abuse and the DEA has dismantled dozens of
"pill mills" - sham pain clinics whose doctors write
prescriptions for thousands of pain pills to drug dealers and
The DEA said the pharmacies who received the orders may file
a written request with the agency, within 30 days, for an
opportunity for an administrative hearing to determine whether
their right to sell controlled substances should be revoked.