TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office recently filed licensing complaints against the Terre Haute-based Hoosier Prescription Shop, and its owner and pharmacist, Ashok A. Patel.
According to the complaints, Patel dispensed about 22,000 oxycodone tablets to 71 out-of-state patients over a seven-month period in 2012. All of the prescriptions were paid for in cash, totaling about $53,000, and written by 18 out-of-state physicians.
The Indiana Board of Pharmacy received notice from a company, which supplies pharmacies with controlled substances, that it quit filling orders from the Terre Haute-based pharmacy. The board conducted an investigation and a compliance officer discovered the out-of-state patient files.
“These licensing complaints are just a part of our overall effort to crack down on the number of controlled substances that are being wrongfully added to the illegal supply of narcotics,” Zoeller said. “My office is committed to protecting patients and appreciates the coordination from the Indiana Board of Pharmacy to bring licensing actions against violators.”
According to the complaint, the majority of the customers to the Hoosier Prescription Shop at 3020 S. Seventh St. were from Kentucky, but others traveled from Ohio, Georgia and Florida. The majority of prescriptions were written by physicians located in Georgia and central Florida. The average prescription per patient was 122 tablets and all were filled between February and August of last year.
Zoeller said that it is not a violation to fill prescriptions for out-of-state patients or accept prescriptions from out-of-state physicians. However, the Attorney General’s office alleges Patel failed to “exercise appropriate professional judgment” in filling a high number of prescriptions for controlled substances from out-of-state patients and their prescribers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared prescription drug abuse an epidemic.
The Indiana Board of Pharmacy, which has the authority to determine the appropriate discipline, will likely consider the formal complaints at its next meeting on July 8.
Since 2012, the Attorney General’s office has filed 15 licensing actions against physicians for overprescribing with several cases involving deaths. The growing number of overprescribing incidents resulted in the creation of the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force launched by Zoeller. The group is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers. Members focus on education, treatment and recovery, prescription drug monitoring, prescription disposal and take-back and enforcement.