New Jersey Pharmacy Settles in Illegal Distribution, Kickback Case

10 Aug, 2022 F.J. Thomas

                               

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – A New Jersey pharmacy has agreed to settle for its role ina case involving illegal distribution of fentanyl and kickbacks from 2015 to 2019, according to a release from the New Jersey Department Of Justice.

Dunn Meadow Pharmacy of Fort Lee has admitted to illegal distribution of fentanyl and payment of kickbacks to providers in exchange for prescriptions, resulting in fraudulent payouts of over $4.5 million. Dunn Meadow pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to knowingly distribute fentanyl outside the course of professional practice, and conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

According to the complaint, the pharmacy operated as a specialty mail-order pharmacy, providing drugs nationwide. The pharmacy claimed to specialize in pain management medications, particularly Transmucosal Immediate Release Fentanyl or “TIRF” which is designed to provide an immediate dose of fentanyl for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. According to the court documents, the pharmacist in charge had no special training or clinical experience in pain management.

Investigators assert that according to instant messaging records and emails, that staff continued to fill prescriptions of patients they referred to as “drug addicts”. Additionally, the drug addicts would pay cash to the tune of $9,000 for their prescriptions. It’s also noted that alerts were removed from patients whose physicians had been flagged for their prescribing practices, even after they were warned by compliance personnel of their suppliers. At one point, two suppliers had stopped selling to Dunn Meadow, who later falsified applications that they had never been suspended by a supplier in their applications with other suppliers.

The complaint declares that Dunn Meadow failed to confirm patient diagnoses and profiles, and that the company relied on information given by pharmaceutical sales representatives as opposed to verifying appropriateness with the prescribing physician. Additionally, prescriptions were filled without the original script, and a list was kept of patients from high volume physicians to release medications without the original request.

In regards to kickbacks, the investigators stated that thousands of dollars were paid out for food, entertainment, and alcohol for provider practices with the purpose of enticing prescriptions from their office. Additionally, the investigators found that sales representatives for Dunn Meadow paid for food and entertainment of a fentanyl manufacturer in exchange for steerage of prescriptions, which also included exchange of protected insurance information to speed up the process.

The pharmacy’s parent company Allegheny Pharma based in Texas, has agreed to pay out $225,000 in restitution to resolve the liability of Dunn Meadow. Additionally, Dunn Meadow will pay out 50 percent of revenue over $221,000 as of August of last year, in quarterly payments for the next 5 years to pay towards the total $4,498,920.82 in restitution. In addition to the settlement, Dunn Meadow relinquished their DEA and state license, and agreed to never reapply in any state.


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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