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RICHMOND AREA PHARMACIST'S LICENSE REVOKED FOR EXCESSIVE DISPENSING OF OPIOIDS
RICHMOND--On Tuesday, April 22, the license of Hanover County pharmacist Douglas A. Harris was revoked after Attorney General Mark R. Herring's office presented evidence to the Board of Pharmacy of rampant excessive dispensing of opioid medications and other controlled substances outside of a bona fide practitioner-patient-pharmacist relationship. Harris, the owner and former Pharmacist-in-Charge of the Beaverdam Pharmacy, was found to have illegally dispensed tens of thousands of opioid pills between March 29, 2012 and April 3, 2013. In addition to the revocation, the Board imposed a $15,000 monetary penalty on Mr. Harris.
"Prescription drug abuse is an emerging problem in far too many of our communities and I will not allow unscrupulous pharmacists to make these potentially addictive drugs even easier to access," said Attorney General Herring. "On my recent public safety tour, law enforcement officials across the state told me that prescription drugs are an increasingly dangerous gateway into opiate addiction, which is fueling the resurgence of heroin across the country. Education, prevention and treatment will be important parts of our response, but my Office will do all it can to keep these dangerous drugs, and those who distribute them, off the streets."
A review of prescription records showed that Beaverdam Pharmacy filled 338 prescriptions for Schedule II through IV medications in significant quantities, including oxycodone, hydromorphone, and benzodiazepines such as clonazepam, to 55 patients from Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. The patients had prescriptions written by physicians in Georgia and Florida who were themselves being investigated and subsequently either had their license suspended or surrendered it for inappropriate prescribing of opioid medication.
The case was investigated by the Enforcement Division of the Virginia Department of Health Professions with assistance from the Richmond office of the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Senior Assistant Attorney General Wayne Halbleib prosecuted the case before the Board on behalf of the Commonwealth.